HOW-TO: Check ePub formats for approval in the iTunes store [Mac-Only]

Based on instructions from but clarified a little more by Erin Anne…

  1. Check to make sure Java 1.5 or higher is installed on your computer (this is native in Macs, but run Software Updater just to make sure you have the latest version already).
  2. Go to to download the latest version of ePubCheck from Google (Mac users, choose the latest binary zip file, but don’t use the beta version if there is one: in Nov 2011, the file was called, in case this helps).
  3. Move the file to somewhere on your computer, eg your desktop or your ebook files folder and unzip it. The file folder for version 1.2 is called epubcheck-1.2
  4. Open the folder, but don’t open the app.
  5. Look for the file inside the folder called something like epubcheck-[SOMETHING].jar. Do nothing with it yet, but keep the window open.
  6. In another finder window, open the file folder for your ePub document you want to check. Do nothing with it yet, but keep the window open.
  7. Open Terminal in your Mac’s Utilities window: In the Finder, go to the GO menu at the top, choose UTILITIES, look for Terminal and open it (or simply “search” your computer).
  8. In the Terminal window, type java[SPACE]-jar[SPACE] using the space bar where [space] is inserted. Don’t type anything else… no “return,” nothing (and don’t miss the hyphen between the first [space] and jar).
  9. Now drag-and-drop the epubcheck-[soemthing].jar file from the open window noted in point 5, above, and then type one [SPACE] after the name/filepath appears.
  10. Now drag the ePub file you want to check from the open window noted in point 6, above. Don’t type any spaces this time.
  11. Now press RETURN.
  12. Now read what it says. Hopefully it says “No errors or warnings detected,” but if it doesn’t then you need to puzzle it out from there to figure out what you need to fix.
  13. Ha. This part’s not so much fun. Try researching the issue(s) at

For further reading and a link to some excellent resources (including examples) on publishing in ePub:

About Erin Anne

I use storytelling and "content marketing" to promote my clients' work. I develop and implement communications strategies using all the on- and offline tools and media at our disposal, publish books and ebooks and market them internationally, or even just simply create a new website and teach the client how to run it. If you have something interesting to say, a valuable service to offer, or an important cause to promote, I'd love to work with you, too!


  1. Erin Anne Beirne says

    Can you explain more… at what point did you get that message? From the iTunes store? Are you using a Mac? (Sorry, had to ask…)


  2. Erin Anne Beirne says

    One error message I’ve encountered thus far is this:

    “item (iTunesMetadata.plist) exists in the zip file, but is not declared in the OPF file


    The issue: If I get this message, it means that I’ve already loaded my ePub into iTunes. iTunes inserts this code automatically into the file. Why? Dunno. Probably something it thinks it needs?

    How to solve it:

    One way to solve this is to create a fresh ePub version of the file and NOT load that copy into iTunes before running the check. Make a duplicate ePub file of the ebook after it passes the test, and LOAD THE COPY into iTunes, keeping the original file pristine and error-free!’

    Apparently there is a way to remove this code from a file, too, but the recipes I’ve tried so far haven’t worked for me yet.

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