Why The Emotional Criticism Of iBooks Author Is Wrong



A smattering of journalist authors are freaking out over Apple’s license agreement for the free new iBooks Author tool.

ZDnet’s Ed Bott called the license agreement “greedy and evil.” PCmag.com’s Sascha Segan wrote: “Like iBooks Author? Apple now owns you.” Even Daring Fireball’s John Gruber called it “Apple at its worst.”

Et tu, Gruber?

What’s strange about these emotional responses to Apple’s legalese is that they fail the reality test. Apple’s iBooks Author terms are neither greedy nor evil; they don’t mean Apple’s “owns you;” and it’s certainly not the worst thing Apple has ever done.

Here. I’ll prove it.

Emotional response #1: Apple’s terms are “greedy and evil.” 

Here’s the part that has critics apoplectic:

If you charge a fee for any book or other work you generate using this software (a “Work”), you may only sell or distribute such Work through Apple (e.g., through the iBookstore) and such distribution will be subject to a separate agreement with Apple.

The iBookstore distribution required nets Apple a 30% cut.

Is it too obvious to point out that Apple’s terms are optional? Nobody is forced to accept them. Is Microsoft greedy and evil for charging $120 for Microsoft Office? If I don’t like the price, I don’t have to use it.

Apple’s iBooks Author is just an offer. Take it or leave it. Nobody is being coerced.

On the contrary, Apple’s terms aggressively champion the cause of free books. There are several powerful incentives for authors to give books away free. Who wrote this policy, Richard Stallman? Apple’s authoring tool is free, and if you don’t charge for the book, you can distribute it anyway you like. Wow!

I would think Ed Bott would be way more angry about this one. As an author who makes a big part of his living selling technology-oriented books, he should be worried that Apple’s incentives for generating free books would flood the market with books that Apple doesn’t make a penny from. Now he’s got to compete with free.

Look, Apple has decided that its overall publishing channel starts with a free application. As a publishing channel, Apple’s is way better and way cheaper than, say, Amazon’s Kindle channel.

Amazon’s royalty rates are all over the map, depending on the price of the book, whether affiliates are paid, whether Amazon chooses to discount your book and many other factors. But their very best royalty rate is identical to Apple’s: They keep 30%. Their worst rate is that they keep 70%.

Amazon and Apple are the only two players in the category of eBooks that involve powerful mainstream, broad-base distribution on tablets. And in this category, Apple takes far less from authors and also strongly encourages a free model from which Apple makes nothing. And, in any event, the whole system is optional.

The iBooks Author terms are the opposite of “greedy and evil.” They’re generous to authors, and strongly encourage the creation of free books so that poor people aren’t disadvantaged by the cost of learning materials.

Emotional response #2: Using iBooks Author means “Apple owns you.”

Really? How?

Before iBooks Author came along, a typical scenario for a self-published author might be this: You write a manuscript and gather images, and hire designers and others to format it for print.

Starting with the same original materials (not the print-formatted files), you use Amazon’s system for creating a Kindle version.

Starting again with the original manuscript and images, you might do another format for PDF distribution, which you might offer for sale or free download from your web site.

And once again, starting with your original manuscript, you might format a script that you read or have a voice actor read for an audiobook version.

The existence of iBooks author gives you yet another powerful distribution channel. Starting once again with your original manuscript, you format the text within iBooks Author for sale as an iBook.

iBooks Author gives you a fifth option to add to the previous four. In each case, you start with a text file manuscript, and share your revenue with people or organizations that enable you to distribute within that channel.

Apple doesn’t “own you,” has no claims to your copyright and demands no exclusivity.

It’s a bizarre claim, and one easily proved false.

Emotional response #3: iBooks Author is “Apple at its worst.” 

iTunes for Windows is Apple at its worst.

The claim that iBooks Author is “Apple at its worst” is a comment on the following quote by Dan Wineman:

“Apple, in this EULA, is claiming a right not just to its software, but to its software’s output. It’s akin to Microsoft trying to restrict what people can do with Word documents, or Adobe declaring that if you use Photoshop to export a JPEG, you can’t freely sell it to Getty. As far as I know, in the consumer software industry, this practice is unprecedented.”

Uh, publishing is not a consumer activity. It’s a producer activity.

Apple isn’t giving you a movie player for watching Seinfeld re-runs. Apple is offering a publishing and distribution channel and, by the way, here’s a free tool optimized for supporting that channel.

If Apple had decided to make iBooks Author a web app that constituted the first step in submitting your work to iBooks distribution, nobody would be complaining. They would see the online authoring tool as just part of the publishing channel.

Instead, Apple decided to make Step One of the iBooks publishing system a downloadable application.

Another complaint by critics is that Apple has pointed out in its licensing agreement that it reserves for itself the right to reject books. A clause in the license agreement states:

“Apple will not be responsible for any costs, expenses, damages, losses (including without limitation lost business opportunities or lost profits) or other liabilities you may incur as a result of your use of this Apple Software, including without limitation the fact that your Work may not be selected for distribution by Apple.”

Apple’s iBooks Author clause that says they’re not responsible for reimbursing you for your time if they reject your app is perfectly consistent with Apple’s past behavior, and it’s unreasonable to have expected anything else.

The lack of filtering in Amazon’s Kindle channel of publishing actually threatens the desirability of that platform.

As a Reuters article pointed out last summer, thousands of books published through Amazon’s Kindle system are made up of junk content “bought very cheaply” and repurposed into a book. Nobody makes a lot of money on these books, so unscrupulous pseudo-authors are making it up on volume. In fact, little sweatshops have sprung up to grab content, dump it into a Kindle book and sell it on Amazon.com.

As the article points out, “Spam has hit the Kindle, clogging the online bookstore of the top-selling eReader with material that is far from being book worthy and threatening to undermine Amazon.com Inc’s publishing foray.”

I don’t think anyone can have honestly and reasonably expected Apple to let spammers flood iBooks with junk.

The assumed expectation of critics that Apple should have given away a free eBook authoring tool as a front-end to its publishing channel, and invited authors to use that tool to advantage competing publishing channels is an expectation based on what?

Apple’s strategy, as I pointed out last week, is to become the eventual publishing platform of choice. To this end, they have undercut Amazon’s royalty program visicously, offering terms that are to Kindle publishing what the Kindle Fire is to the iPad in terms of pricing — generally less than half.

They have strongly incentivized the publication of totally free books.

They have offered another great, author-friendly channel for distribution that in no way prevents authors from publishing the same content on any other platform, including direct competitors.

And they have created a legal framework that will prevent iBooks from being filled with shameless spam in the guise of books.

Emotional responses to this licensing agreement are natural, given the unusual terms it contains. But once the emotion has subsided, and the facts are considered with a cool head, Apple’s new iBooks Author looks like a pretty good deal.

I’m predicting that a whole lot of authors are going to love it.


Deals of the Day

  • Jannik Lindquist

    Nice try, Mike :-) The problem is that no publisher is going to spend resources into building alternative versions of their textbook. The Apple textbooks will become the de facto standard – just as iOS is the de facto standard in the newspaper and magazine business. 

  • Viktoria Michaelis

    For anyone who writes books for print another small point. A book is offered to a publisher who then gives the author royalties based on the published price, keeping a large share for themselves. The author is not free to offer this printed work to another publisher within the agreed distribution area of the pubisher: the printed work is effectively owned by the publisher.

  • Shameer Mulji

    “The problem is that no publisher is going to spend resources into building alternative versions of their textbook.”

    I disagree.  If a publisher wishes to maximize their profit by maximizing reach they will.  As far as ebooks go, Amazon / Kindle are the de facto standard right now when it comes to ebooks.  So they’re not going to stop publishing for Kindle just because they publish to iBooks.  Besides, by publishing to both stores, it ensures some competition remains.

    You can use app development as another example.  Developers didn’t stop developing apps for Android or even Windows Phone just because they developed apps for iOS.  They wanted to maximize their reach so they developed for all platforms, or at the very least Android & iOS.

  • macgizmo

    Mike, I’ve been a pretty harsh critic of your work here, but you’ve won me over with this article.

  • Shameer Mulji

    This is assuming Apple is a publisher which, in my understanding, it is not.  It’s just a distribution channel.  It’s the same way that with music.  An artist can sell his / her music through iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, etc.. but Apple doesn’t own the music.  It’s just a distribution channel.  

    Apple is not getting any ownership to your content, just the specific version created in iBooks Author. You can still take your original content and using another content creation tool, like Adobe Indesign, create a standard ePUB and distribute through another store.

    Now if Apple was claiming exclusivity to your content or ownership of copyright then yes, that would be a big problem, possibly even anti0competitive. But I highly doubt that’s what they’re doing here.

  • Brittp2

    agree with JimD, this is a calm cool collective article that points out the reality of what the new software does. It puts a shine on the iBook author way. well done.

  • Daniel Nelms

    Honestly %30 is not bad, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble charge me more than that.  Amazon demanding the highest percentage.  It seems to be that iBooks author will make it very easy for Joe User to publish their books in the ibook store which I think is a good thing!  Also keep in mind that there are slight differances in the epubs used on Kindle vs. Nook vs iBooks.

    If you want to spend the time/money on other software which will allow up to publish an epub so that you can put your books up in other markets great! 
    If not, this is an easy and free solution for you.

    Besides I highly doubt that the exported files from ibooks author would work on other devices because of the rich media anyways.  You can still redo your book for other markets.

  • Honey Badger

    The author can still publish their material elsewhere. They can even use iBooks publisher and create a PDF version and distribute that however they like. All Apple is doing is saying “hey, if you are interested in selling your book through iBooks 2 formatted for our iOS devices, here is a free tool to help you create compelling work.”

    I don’t see the big deal.

  • pete_hardie

    You completely miss the point – Apple is saying that if you use their tool to write a book that you want to sell, you MUST sell that book through Apple and give them a cut.  It is the same thing as Microsoft saying that if you write the book using Word, you must sell it only in Redmond and give them a cut.  Or Makita claiming that if you build a cabinet using their table saw that you must give them a cut when you sell the cabinet.

    It is wholly unethical for a tool maker to claim profits from products made with that tool.

  • Alfiejr

    totally right. and of course the major costs involved in developing a textbook – or any book – is not the graphic layout work anyway. that just the packaging. researching/creating the content costs much more. for textbooks, getting required approvals around the country is not cheap. even marketing cost more.

    it’s clear the paranoids whining about iBooks 2 need to take Economics 101 as soon as it is available on iBooks. maybe even Bonehead Math too.

  • flargh

    Tell that to DK Publishing, Pearson, etc., because that’s exactly what they’re doing.

  • Daniel Nelms

    Difference is, you PAID for MS Word.  Apple let you use this “free”.  Another thing is if you list a book the ibookstore you pay that %30 regardless of what software was used to author it.  There’s nothing to stop you from making another version and uploading it anywhere else you please.

  • cassandralite

    I agree.  This was nicely analyzed.  The only part you left out is that, for “real” authors, this is yet another dismaying advance.  Given that public schools the last generation or so have deemphasized writing skills, leaving most amateur writers unable to sustain a cogent  narrative, the market could flood with unreadable product that makes it harder to find the good stuff.  I’ve rarely met an aspiring author who didn’t believe that he’d written the next War and Peace when in reality he’d  produced the scribblings of the proverbial infinite number of monkeys.  On acid.

  • rattyuk

    Er, no.

    Apple have developed a tool which let’s people publish to iBooks format. They are giving it away for free. If you want to develop an interactive book, using a free tool, then you can do this.

    Alternatively there’s nothing stopping you from buying Adobe’s Creative Suite, shelling out about 2k for that, learning how to use it and build your interactive book from scratch. Nothing, save for the monetary outlay.

    You have to pay for Word too and there are licensing agreements in place when you buy a student version not allowing you to use it to make money.

    “It is wholly unethical for a tool maker to claim profits from products made with that tool.”
    Then don’t use it, or ask for your money back – oh wait – it’s free.

  • ericthehalfbee

    Sorry, but you’re wrong. The only limitations are if you export the book to Apple’s iBook format AND you want to charge for it, then it can only be sold through Apple.

    If I use iBooks Author to create a book, and then make it available as an ePub, PDF and iBook, I’m allowed to do whatever I want with the PDF and ePub formatted versions (including selling them wherever I want). Only the iBook formatted output has to be sold through Apple – I can’t take the iBook and try to sell it on the side through my own site, for example.

  • hisshadow

    Well done.

  • beziermedia

    I just love how people line up to hate Apple.  Are we that scared of a “different way”?  As this points out, Amazon’s terms are the same or worse.  No control over price.   People just emotionally react to Apple and make statements before even trying the tool.  How is a company “unethical” for a company to create a tool and build a network to distribute the products built by that tool?  Separate entities, each of which can be used or not used.

  • stueee123

    No. Can you use Xcode to create android applications? No. Because these interactive iBooks only work on the iPad, due to the need for the ibooks 2.0 platform, it would be impossible to sell them to kindle users, because they would not work. If you want to make a good old fashioned ebook for ibooks, thats all hunky-dorry. However, if you want to make an interactive book using ibooks author, the iBooks channel is the only one in which people will be able to use your book. They do not claim ownership of your words, just of the way they are portrayed.

  • hisshadow

    The market is already flooded with such tripe, and the spam in book form already described by Elgan. Things will not get worse because of Apple’s efforts, and it’s very likely they will get better, given Apple’s penchant for maintaining standards.

  • stueee123

    Really good article by the way. Very clear, well thought-out, and well written.

  • Daniel Nelms

    Very true.  And on that note if you want to make an interactive book you can do what many have already done and make it an app!  You’ll still pay the same %30 (unless its a free app) and you will still have to port it if you want it to run on WinPhone7 or Droid.  Nothing has changed.
    These aren’t the droids your looking for, you can go about your business…move along…

  • minimalist1969

    When something is “free”, there are always strings attached.   In other words nothing is free.  You pay one way or another.  

  • Joo Joo

    As a university student it’s good to have textbooks in iPad, but it will be great if its available in south east asia. In my country, i can only purchase Apps. Music, books, textbooks and others are not allowed. Sad case

  • ddevito

    Amazon will win the textbook war come 2014 because their e-readers will be freely subsidized unlike a $500 textbook reader from Apple.

    -see what I did there? :)

  • m_el

    Well actually I downloaded the free Microsoft expression blend and visual studio for windows phone 7. It was free!
    I could only sell the software I had created from it through the Microsoft marketplace.

    I don’t see this as any different. Microsoft provided free tools to help me created software for their phone framework. Apple are creating a free tool for their own iBook framework

    Evil !!!!!!!!!

  • Chuck Nigash

    What we should really focus on is it’s infant functionality.  If you want to use Apple’s templates and retype your book, great.  But try it on for size and if you have any experience with mature Adobe products, you’ll find this is the iWeb of book creation.  It’s organized but shallow.

  • minimalist1969

    I have never understood all the outrage over Apple’s standard 30% cut of content that gets sold through the App Store, as if its some evil new business model the world has never seen before.   Apple built and maintains a top notch store that makes it dead easy for customers to buy content on iOS devices.  If you want to sell your 3rd party wares through that channel, you abide by its rules and restrictions… just like you would if you sold your content through xbox Live, Sony Playstation, Wal-Mart, best Buy, etc.   All these retailers get a cut because they brings tons of customers to you via the brands they have built.   That’s they way retailing works.

    Apple’s attitude towards iBooks Author books is no different than their attitude towards music or movies on iOS devices either.  Apple allows many competitors on the store (Kindle, Nook, Netflix, etc) and allows you to import competitors products into iTunes (Amazon mp3’s, Audible audiobooks) but they are not going to go out of their way to make the experience of getting these customers content onto the device as seamless as they make their own… unless they are willing to give Apple a cut.  When Apple sets up shop inside Best Buy’s stores I guarantee they give Best Buy a big cut as well.  

    And like Mike said, if you don’t like the terms you are free to go sell your ebook to Amazon, Sony, Kobo, B&N. Many of them have iOS apps so its not like you have no other channel to get on the iPad.  Apple certainly isn;t obligated to give you free software for you to create Amazon ebooks and good luck finding an alternative store that doesn’t have similar terms and restrictions.

  • Kevin Daniels

    If you do not like what Apple is doing, then there are many other programs that you can buy. If you don’t like the agreement from Apple about putting your book only on iBook, then don’t sign it and use another program !! No one is forcing you to use Apple’s program !!! If you already downloaded the App then ask for your FREE money back. LOL

  • Ray Monigold

    PEOPLE – read again what Mike has written, go for the facts. 

    Apple’s iBooks Author is just one of many ways to turn your thoughts, ideas, teachable rants or remembrances into an Electronic Book. Look at Amazon’s “deal” with their epub contributors – give them an EXCLUSIVE and they’ll give you limited, free promotional support. But like Apple, you must use their Proprietary Converter that makes your missive available only on Amazon and can only be viewed using a Kindle (yes, Kindle software emulators are available for almost every platform but many of your book’s features are stripped away unless viewed on an actual Kindle). 

    Apple has the same limitations on your material. Take your “book” and convert it into an Apple iBook and it’s available only on the iBook Store. But Apple does not care who else sees or buys your stuff as long as it is converted again using someone else’s converter – no exclusivity. 

    And remember, everybody takes a 30% cut of the gross – they used to take 90% (thanks Apple for bringing it down to 30). I publish on Amazon because they provide the ISBN for FREE. But I will be publishing my FREE promotional material using Apple because they will supplant the draconian ISBN contributor limitation if you agree to free publications. Now who wins?

    That Ray Guy

  • Harold Kelly

    thank you for the really great article!

  • Andreas Schmidt

    How about this: 
    Songs created in Garageband or Logic can only be distributed and sold through iTunes or given away for free

    Movies created in iMove or Final Cut can only be distributed and sold through iTunes or given away for free

    Documents created in Pages or iBooks Author can only be distributed and sold through iTunes or given away for free

    Pictures edited in iPhoto or Aperture must be given away for free because Apple isn’t selling those


  • Cesar Florez

    great article Mike. I love it, and as usual, Very well put!!

  • Ronald Stepp

    “Is it too obvious to point out that Apple’s terms are optional? Nobody is forced to accept them. Is Microsoft greedy and evil for charging $120 for Microsoft Office? If I don’t like the price, I don’t have to use it.”

    While I also don’t feel 30% is as bad as authors get from traditional publishing, technically this isn’t a good comparison.  You buy the software from Microsoft that creates content, but to be the same, Microsoft would have to charge you 30% off any word doc, web page, presentation, or spreadsheet that you make money from.  Apple on the other hand gives the software for free, but then charges you 30% of anything you ever make money from in the apple store.

    I still think it’s a good deal though, if you use the store, they have the store with a huge base of customers, and they also cover the distribution so all in all, I think apple is a good deal.  But, of course, if you HAVE the content, then you can market it elsewhere.  The hard part isn’t having the software to MAKE the book, it’s having content to PUT IN the book.

  • ??nD ??os??A

    I think you are wrong. You can only distribute the “work” outside of iBookstore for free.  You cannot charge for a PDF you create with iBooks author. 
    B. Distribution of your Work. As a condition of this License and provided you are in compliance with its terms, your Work may be distributed as follows:(i) if your Work is provided for free (at no charge), you may distribute the Work by any available means;(ii) if your Work is provided for a fee (including as part of any subscription-based product orservice), you may only distribute the Work through Apple and such distribution is subject to the following limitations and conditions: (a) you will be required to enter into a separate written agreement with Apple (or an Apple affiliate or subsidiary) before any commercial distribution of your Work may take place; and (b) Apple may determine for any reason and in its sole discretion not to select your Work for distribution

  • Len Williams

    Thanks Mike, this is a very well-written and cogent article. I’m most surprised by John Gruber, who should know better from Apple’s track record that iBook Author is neither evil, greedy or Apple at its worst by any stretch of the imagination. Apple has no obligation to create free software to make money for other companies. Heck, even if they charged for iBA, it’s still a great tool for creating what it’s intended for: creating iBooks.

    Then again, wait until version 2, 3 and 4, and who knows what it could grow into? Maybe it will eventually replace InDesign and Quark as print and electronic delivery for newspapers and magazines–or even supplant PDF with a new format. This is version one, and the sky’s the limit.

    There is a tendency with humans to see conspiracies and “unfairness” all around them, with a self-centered attitude of “what’s in it for me?” Like the many, many anti-Apple articles and diatribes in the past, Apple will weather this with impunity and will gracefully take over the education market because of an elegant, integrated system of content creation, distribution and delivery.

  • Mitchell Ross

    Ask for your FREE money back. Best line in the comments. I agree with the article, 30% is not bad considering that physical book publishers take a lot more then that. Great article.  

  • Artoo

    Great post.

    Let the complainers shoot themselves in the foot. Forward-thinking people will take advantage of this additional opportunity Apple offers, to make great interactive books which work in the world’s best and most popular tablet.

    In a few months the whiners will be complaining that they didn’t get in on the publishing boom early on.

    But it’s business as usual, the ingrates will always slam Apple, no matter what.

  • minimalist1969

    Garageband, Logic, iMovie, Final Cut, and Pages all cost money.   iBooks Author is free.  These are totally different revenue models.   

    Nobody has a “right” to iBooks Author.   Apple isn’t obligated to give away software to help their competitors get ahead.  Apple is offering it free of charge with certain strings attached.    All free items in this world have strings attached.   If you don’t like the iBooks Author deal, go buy Adobe’s software, publish for the Kindle and or the Nook and get on the iPad through their respective apps.

  • David Fuchs

    How about a program like LibreOffice? 
    http://www.libreoffice.org/ That is a free versions of Microsoft office and it is free. No strings attached. 

  • jbarmer

    Damn!  Great analysis of the situation.  I have also been a bit surprised at the intensity of the backlash.  I just assumed that it was because children will be using it (meaning the finished product).  And once you start talking about “the children”, things get emotional FAST.

    And about this 30% people are worried about… I opened (and closed) my own publishing business to create quality hardback books, and I can tell you that I made less than $0.00.  It is expensive to publish books, starting with buying Adobe InDesign to create the page layout.  That was just the beginning of the costs of that first book, and we made nothing.  There are a lot of reasons for that, but when comparing that process with what I’m looking at when using Apple iBooks tool, it’s like somebody just saved me a butt-load of money.

  • jbarmer

    Damn!  Great analysis of the situation.  I have also been a bit surprised at the intensity of the backlash.  I just assumed that it was because children will be using it (meaning the finished product).  And once you start talking about “the children”, things get emotional FAST.

    And about this 30% people are worried about… I opened (and closed) my own publishing business to create quality hardback books, and I can tell you that I made less than $0.00.  It is expensive to publish books, starting with buying Adobe InDesign to create the page layout.  That was just the beginning of the costs of that first book, and we made nothing.  There are a lot of reasons for that, but when comparing that process with what I’m looking at when using Apple iBooks tool, it’s like somebody just saved me a butt-load of money.

  • Thad_McIlroy

    You make some valid points here, but your basis is often shaky. Point by point:

    1. “Is it too obvious to point out that Apple’s terms are optional?”

    This is your most forceful argument. No one denies that it’s optional to use the iBooks Author tool, so you’re 100% correct on that point.
    HOWEVER, if you use the software tool, then you have agreed to the unusual and non-optional terms. That’s the only point we’re making.

    2. “On the contrary, Apple’s terms aggressively champion the cause of free books.”

    You perceive that Apple’s terms “champion” free. That’s a valid reading. Certainly the restrictions, unusual in themselves, are removed when the book is free.
    I doubt that Ed Bott or any other author is now more concerned that they’ve “got to compete with free”. We don’t compete with free. We sell beside free.
    “Free” is an excellent market measure for any author: the value in your work must be clear, obvious. I like that. Lots of stuff is free already. Very good stuff. I’m glad that it is.

    3. “As a publishing channel, Apple’s is way better and way cheaper than, say, Amazon’s Kindle channel.”

    Here your bias is showing. “Way better” is tough to argue. Books do look better on iPads than on Kindles. But Amazon sells a heck of a lot more books than Apple.
    While there are situations where Amazon charges more than 30%, most authors receive the same percentage from both platforms.

    4. “iBooks Author gives you a fifth option to add to the previous four.”

    You are technically correct, but not so in practice. Obviously Apple intends iBook Author as a primary publishing tool.
    It’s technically difficult with today’s tools to make a similar-looking book with other software. Some, like Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress are both more expensive and more versatile.
    Others, Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat are more expensive and less versatile. Apple, to its credit, has created a strong tool with iBooks Author, but it creates a non-standard file format that’s difficult to reproduce.

    5. “iTunes for Windows is Apple at its worst.”

    You don’t explain yourself, but I think you are referencing the quality of the software.

    6. “The lack of filtering in Amazon’s Kindle channel of publishing actually threatens the desirability of that platform.”

    Yep, there’s lots of garbage being self-published on the Kindle platform. Amazon’s reader rating system and ‘Look inside the Book’ feature allows you to figure out pretty quickly what’s garbage. And refunds are quickly given, and pretty soon the book is no longer offered.

    7. “I don’t think anyone can have honestly and reasonably expected Apple to let spammers flood iBooks with junk.”

    No one can. But Apple’s current approval system is, by all accounts, slow and subjective.

    8. “I’m predicting that a whole lot of authors are going to love it.”

    Sure they will, and so they should. As long as they understand the unusual restrictions, and can work within them, it’s bound to create some excellent opportunities.
    Amazon also places exclusivity restrictions with its Kindle Lending Library and lots of authors love it.

    We were all very surprised to find a non-advertised gotcha in Apple’s EULA.
    It’s an unnecessary restriction and an unusual one.
    If Apple felt that it was necessary, then ordinarily it would have been upfront about it and explained it, perhaps using some of your enthusiastic reasoning.
    We were unpleasantly surprised, and we were taken aback. That’s all.

  • Aj Tk427

    Yes but the difference there is that Apple is providing you with a distribution platform. I could create a book in word, but then I have to find a means to distribute it.

  • aramishero

    I dont see any problem with Apple giving free tool and sell at ibookstore. Why people keep blaming apple??? If u dont like to sell at ibookstore then dont use the tool. Some more its free. What the heck wrong with those ppl keep blaming Apple. Nonsense

  • MacHead84

    “Is it too obvious to point out that Apple’s terms are optional? Nobody is forced to accept them. Is Microsoft greedy and evil for charging $120 for Microsoft Office?”   That is an absolutely STUPID statement. Microsoft doesnt change you to distribute a Word document or dictate where you can publish a Word document. 

  • PhilRead

    Correct – very different revenue model. Rather than offer a paid version, they offer a “free” version on the condition the artist forever owes them a *percentage* of their economic output. Uncapped.

    How about if other companies started doing this? Free design software – but you owe Autodesk a % of your revenue as an architect. Free word processing software – but you owe Microsoft a % of your revenue as a writer. Free camera – but you owe Cannon a % of any money made from your photographs.

    Apple could have simply sold the software and created a compelling iBookstore ecosystem where one could have sold the books and Apple received a 30% cut, and competed against other ebook ecosystems based on quality and customer experience.

    But with this model, the author isn’t permitted to sell the output of this tool anywhere else. Not Amazon. Not Barnes & Noble.

    Does anyone have to use this tool? No. But rather than charge a reasonable amount ($99?) for this tool, they pretend to offer it only for “free” – and then forbid the artist from selling the results of their creative efforts as widely as possible.

    Is this illegal? Not AFAIK. But it’s cynical, parasitic and predatory.

    Apple can do better.

  • tony_cook

    The people who seem to be against this piece of software appear to think that iBook Author is a generic content creation tool, like Indesign or pages. It isn’t, it is a tool specifically designed to help you build an iBook for Free and the only place you can distribute an iBook is via Apple.

    If you want something to create a generic ePub file that you can publish anywhere you want (any where that accepts that format) use something else like Indesign – if you want to use the iBook distribution channel upload your book as a word file or use iBook Author.

  • mbritten

    Gruber re-addressed the issue, focusing on the iBook format more than the EULA. The gist – Apple created a tool to build the best possible iBook, with a distribution channel already in place. If you’d rather go with something more open, use whatever tools you wish to create something in ePub instead.


  • Corbin Fawver

    oh whatever!!! wow these people need to get their minds straight

  • Marc Labuschagne

    Does anyone remember that manual on Paedophilia that got banned a while ago on Amazon? If iBooks textbooks are starting out in highschools and are meant for education in general, who wants their child or themself to be exposed to something so clearly not in the syllabus? Apple has a right to do what it wants with the store it has created, if authors feel misused then they can choose to use the other channels mentioned in the article. 

  • Revbernie

    2 Simple Points:

    iBooks Author is designed mainly for educational purposes, not for general ebook authoring. There are plenty of tools to do that.

    You can distribute published iBooks without the Apple iBook store. You just can’t sell them. I’ve created several “manuals” for technology support in PDF format. I will now be able to create much more useful interactive versions that I can simply email to faculty and students so they can open them on their iPads. For those that don’t have iPads, I can simply export a static PDF version right from iBooks Author.

  • cassandralite

    What standards?  They’re not going to employ an army of editing police.

  • Harriman

    Does Amazon sell eBooks in Apple’s iBooks format?  Or does Barnes & Noble?  If they are, it’s a surprise to me.  There are other tools that one can use to create eBooks for those markets, but to my knowledge, iBooks is the only source of DRM packaged eBooks for the iBooks platform.  As Mike says, if you want to sell your eBooks through other channels, use other tools.  Start with the same basic files, format them with the tools of your choice, and sell them as you will. 

    But, if you want to use IBA, then you’re limited to selling the output of that toolset to the iTunes store.  Nothing cynical, nothing predatory.  We’re all grownups here.  Examine your options, understand the terms and then make the best decision that fits your circumstances.

  • minimalist1969

    “How about if other companies started doing this? Free design software – but you owe Autodesk a % of your revenue as an architect.”

    As an architect, I can tell you that any design professional who thinks free software is suitable for professional work is horribly naive.     Free software almost always comes with restrictions.  Google Sketchup (the free one) prohibits professional use… you must pay 600 dollars for the Pro version to use it legally in an office.  The less expensive Educational versions of Autocad and Revit also come with restrictions that they can only be used for personal, non-profit uses.  Same thing with educational versions of Word, Photoshop etc. They also restrict input and output on these less expensive versions.

    Not to mention if my profession required a reseller to get products to our clients and Autodesk had a very desirable one (as is Apple’s), they would be fully within their rights to give me the software for free and expect me to share my revenue with them.   But architects do not require a “store”.   Books do.  If you don’t like the terms of creating and selling in Apples store you can always go to Amazon, B&N, Kobo, or find a web based solution.  Or take your books to traditional publishers and get them in all the e-bookstores you want (iBooks included) using the software of your choice.  All Apple is doing is offering a solution for people who want to be in the iBooks store.  Its not the only way to get your book onto an iPad.

    Unless we are going to say Google, Autodesk, Adobe, and Microsoft could “do better” because they restrict their free or discounted software to personal, not for profit uses then there is no reason to get our feathers all in a ruffle over iBook Author.   If  Apple offered a paid ebook creation tool and they restricted its output to their proprietary format and their store then we could talk.   But that’s not what they are doing.

  • minimalist1969

    “But with this model, the author isn’t permitted to sell the output of this tool anywhere else. Not Amazon. Not Barnes & Noble. “

    Why the heck is Apple obligated to give you free tools to help you get your book into their competitor’s stores?   There is no exclusivity agreement when you self publish to iBooks (something Amazon often asks for). You can still put the same exact content on the Kindle and Nook stores. Apple just isn’t going to give you a free tool to do the work for you. And why should they? I don’t blame them one bit.

    At least they are giving you a tool that makes it easy to get your content on iBookstore (which is more than I can say for using Adobe’s bloated mess of a software suite to produce an ebook). And it imports word and pages information so its not like you have to retype the whole book.

  • Guest

    Apple is being childish and push away so many their good customers. Now suing slid lock on Galaxy Nuxus? Shame on you! I will never buy another iProucts, by 3/1/12 I will dump my iPhone4 to get Gaalxy note and it’s not just me, stupid apple and I hate you.

  • Demonstr8r

    Well said! Way to set the record straight for the naysayers.

    For some, hating everything Apple has nearly become religion, similar, but perhaps not on the same scale of Microsoft in the 90s.

  • Bob Forsberg

    If Apple developed a cure for cancer there would be critics. Ignore ignorance.

  • gg47

    Here’s a suggestion, see a psychologist so that you can relax and not waste so much time hating.

  • Bob Forsberg

    It might also be beneficial if you limited “comments” on Cult of Mac to a few sentences, or change the title to “ramblings”.

  • Shameer Mulji

    iBooks Author is designed mainly for educational purposes,…”

    Not exactly.  If you watch the Apple Education keynote, they’re pushing iBooks Author as a tool to create textbooks & any INTERACTIVE books, the key word being interactive.  It isn’t only for education.  But you are correct in that it isn’t for general ebook authoring.

  • Andy Murdock

    Maybe if the cure were only for those with Apple gear.

  • Shameer Mulji

    But with this model, the author isn’t permitted to sell the output of this tool anywhere else. Not Amazon. Not Barnes & Noble. “

    This is technically correct, assuming you’re referring to the specific instantiation created in iBooks Author.  

    But nothing is stopping from taking your content within the book, & create another the exact same book using a different tool (ie: Adobe Indesign) & selling it on a different store or on the iBooks store for that matter.  

    Again, the biggest drawback is now that you have to manage different copies of the book.  Your still own your original work.

  • Shameer Mulji

    It is the same thing as Microsoft saying that if you write the book using Word, you must sell it only in Redmond and give them a cut.”

    This is misleading for the simple reason that to use MS Word for commercial purposes you have a lot of money for that right.

    If you want to use MS Office as an example a good example would be the education edition of MS Office, that students buy at a great discount.  There are restrictions on this version if you read.  You are only allowed to use for academic use in an academic setting.  If you use to make for commercial use, MS is fully within their right to charge you full price for the Office suite which is hundreds of dollars.

  • Hasbullah Mappelawa

    Nuxus?? iProucts? Gaalxy? U should learn to type and spell before hating….LOL…

  • ElVox

    But MS does charge for you to *get* their tool…wether you do something with it or not, if you want a copy of it, you pay.

    Apple, on the other hand, is saying “grab it free, create whatever you want…but *if* you want to charge for what you created with this, we get our 30%…if you want to give it away for free, do it any way you want, we don’t care”

    So…not as stupid as you think it is.

  • Drew Podwal

    What are the terms for pricing that Apple imposes?  What percentage of the sale goes to the Author, and what percentage to Apple?  Does that author control pricing?

  • Revbernie

    You’re right. I used the word “mainly” because education was the focus of the Apple Event. I also have a pretty broad definition of what is meant by educational. Thanks for the comment.

  • GeekJenJen

    1) max 15 dollar
    2) author 70%, Apple 30%. As usual
    3) Yes.

  • Ali Mahmood

     Why is it only avaliable again only inside the US this is silly and looses apple and the publishing money…

  • EugenioRicca

    “Et Tu Gruber?”
    The expression you were looking for I guess is “Quoque tu Gruber?” ;)

  • jfmartin67

    The Apple review process is not a guarantee against low quality ibooks to appear on the iBookstore. Just look at App Store and you’ll find crappy apps in no time.

  • Kertley Veira

    All of this arguing is flat out stupid. Like all companies that create a product, they set their standards and if you don’t like them, simply don’t use the product.

  • Greg Smith

    no he’s making a play on Shakespeare’s, Julius Caesar.  Et tu, Brute? 

  • Greg Smith

    it’s Latin, to further clarify

  • Thangaswamy Jayarajan

    wrong anology

  • Dave Stephens

    They already employ an “army” of editing police for their app store. Give them a “crap app” and they will say, “Nope. Not in our store.” Not that their standards aren’t extremely loose for the most part and also irrational and nonsensical at times. But that’s the nature of boundaries and limitations anyways…

  • Kyle McHattie

    Yes it is as stupid as he said. Microsoft doesn’t charge for wordpad or any of it’s live content creation tools. And if you create something with them, you can reasonably assume you own that content. This agreement is ridiculous. And any of you apologists trying to find excuses for this greedy behavior should give your heads a shake. This IS greedy and IS apple at it’s worst.

  • Kyle McHattie

    You don’t understand the agreement. The agreement states that if you create something using this tool that they own the content, even if you port it to say a word document. It’s greedy and it’s ridiculous.

  • Kyle McHattie

    Well written. After suppressing my own shock and anger at seeing such a draconian agreement (even for apple), it really is as you say. Use it or not, but the agreement generally sucks for something that could be a great tool for all kinds of ebooks. I am taken aback, unpleasantly surprised and frankly getting tired of the way apple is conducting itself. They are causing me to reconsider using any of their products anymore. And this is simply my own arrogant opinion :)

  • Kyle McHattie

    Except that if you read the agreement carefully, they might NOT have saved you money. In fact, they will be the new owners of your book if you use their tools. It’s one thing to try really hard, put your hard earned money up and fail. It’s quite another to create something wildly successful that could turn out to be taken away from you. It may not be reasonable for me to presume that apple would do that. However, the agreement makes it absolutely legal and possible for them to do it. THAT is from where all of the backlash is coming.

  • Kyle McHattie

    VERY well put. THAT is what is pissing everyone off. Apple could have done this differently. Instead they are trying to force everyone to keep their content in iBooks instead of competing fairly. If they had any faith in iBook they would have done this differently. If they had done as you said and even charged a 50% cut as long as it was being sold on iBooks (if created with the free version. 30% for a ‘paid’ version), people would have embraced it. Now, as soon as someone writes and app that works as well and doesn’t have this ridiculous agreement, people will abandon ‘author’ (the irony is so thick) just on basic principle alone. I personally refuse to use it, on principle, even if it is to my own detriment. I won’t encourage this BS from apple.

  • Kyle McHattie

    YES something IS stopping you. THAT is what is pissing everyone off. READ THE AGREEMENT. If it is created with ‘author’ the content is now owned by apple. In any form. With the one exception: You can give it away for free. So either apple makes 30% on your work or nobody makes anything. It’s childish and I thought beneath them. Sadly, I will now be thinking less and less of apple because they are starting to do this crap all the time. I used to LOVE apple. I wouldn’t have minded if you had called me a fan boy, even. Not now. But alas, they have finally reached a size, like most companies, where they don’t care. Our only recourse is to complain. And I doubt this is really the forum for it but I will do it just the same :)

  • Kyle McHattie

    No you can’t put the same content on other stores. THAT is the problem with the agreement. Read it.

  • Kyle McHattie

    You are misreading the agreement. The flap is over the fact that your content can ONLY EVER be sold in the ibook format. The agreement precludes you from reformatting it and selling it elsewhere. Once you have written it using author, it is now forever the domain of apple, unless you want to give it away. THAT is greedy, childish, predatory and cynical.

  • Kyle McHattie

    Wow. How can so many people misread this agreement? The complaints are not about the format! The complaints are about being RESTRICTED to the ibook format if created with author. The agreement clearly states that the content cannot be ported and sold in any other format! So you either use author and give apple a 30% cut or you give it away. And it’s not just a 30% cut. Apple then owns it and could conceivably and legally do what they want with it. NOW do you get why people are pissed?

  • Kyle McHattie

    You’re right and nobody is arguing or complaining about the CHOICE to use it. The complaints are coming from people who DO choose to use it. Who WANT to use it. The agreement for using their free software is like no other software creators’ agreement (free or otherwise). It’s cynical, predatory and beneath what I would have thought would be apple’s ethics. It’s a sign of apple’s demise, frankly. If they have to do this to keep people from publishing to other platforms, their days of being innovators are finally over. I am now just feeling ashamed of apple. They are becoming the same sad and pathetic control freaks that we would expect from an adobe or a microsoft. It’s time to sell my apple stock I guess.

  • Kyle McHattie

    NOT a wrong analogy. It is the perfect analogy. read the agreement.

  • Kyle McHattie

    Yes, but when you pay that price, you don’t keep paying and microsoft can’t take your creation away from you. read the agreement.

  • Kyle McHattie

    It’s NOT the same! If you use the microsoft software then yes, you sell it in the MS marketplace. If you create the SAME app using a different tool, you can sell it wherever you want and microsoft doesn’t own a piece of it. The author agreement states that if you create it with author, you can only ever sell any version of that content, whether created with author or ported to say indesign, in ibook. THAT is unethical and is the cause of all the uproar.

  • Kyle McHattie

    Yes, mr. obvious, we get the whole “strings attached” idea. The discussion is about the “strings attached” to apple’s ‘author’ user agreement and how unethical and shitty those strings are.

  • Kyle McHattie

    NO you CAN’T sell it as a pdf or ePub. That is what everyone is complaining about! Read the agreement.

  • Kyle McHattie

    Yes, there IS something stopping you from making another version! It’s called the ‘Author’ user agreement that everyone is so “unreasonably” upset about. read the agreement.

  • Concerned

    READ THE AGREEMENT.  If you write it with “Author” APPLE OWNS IT.  This is s*itty.

  • pixiedust8

    Which is fine if this uproar makes enough people know about it. But as someone who has written a book I’m trying to get published and works in technology, I can assure you that the aspiring writers I know who do not work in technology would not be aware of this HUGE catch. Not yet anyway.

  • pixiedust8

    Exactly. If that’s not what Apple intended, they need to revise the phrasing, because that’s how it sounds right now. And THAT is ridiculous.

  • m_el

    I’m afraid you’ve misread the agreement. It is about the work, not the content. The book can be written a hundred years ago and converted to this format. You seem to have mistaken the word content which is not mentioned

  • minimalist1969

    “IMPORTANT NOTE: If you charge a fee for any book or other work you generate using this software (a “Work”), you may only sell or distribute such Work through Apple (e.g., through the iBookstore) and such distribution will be subject to a separate agreement with Apple.”

    Notice the phrase “any book or work you generate USING THIS SOFTWARE” (emphasis mine).   If you generated the book originally in Word or another word processor or a text editor and you copy and paste that information and all your graphics into iBooks Author (IBA) the only thing you can’t sell is the output of IBA.   Claiming that this means Apple has exclusive rights to your intellectual property is absurd.

  • minimalist1969

    Even Dave Wineman disagrees with you and he is the one who wrote the initial criticisms of the EULA that got passed around the net.

    “Wait, so Apple’s taking my copyrights away?
    No no no, just your right to sell the output of iBooks Author on your own or through any other store.”

  • chabig

    It says nothing of the sort. You own all of your content. The only restriction is that if you use their tool, the iBook you create (and only the iBook) must be given away for free, or distributed through Apple’s store, where they will take the usual cut.

  • chabig

    Please quote the part where it says you cannot sell the book in any other format, or quit making the claim.

  • rattyuk

    Comprehend what is written there.

    If you SET the book using iBooks Author, then the interactive output that the program generates has to be sold through the iTunes store or given away.

    You are at liberty to use any other tools to publish elsewhere.

  • morgan3nelson

    Read the MS Office License Agreement.  If you have a $120 copy of Office you cannot use it for any purpose that will generate revenue.  To do so you would need the Business version (or Professional version for Windows users) at a steeper price.

  • morgan3nelson

    Show me where it says Apple owns the content.  

  • Tim Gaines

    Kyle,  get a clue!   I have read every post on here and YOU sir are the only one complaining.  It’s not everyone as you claim and you completely miss the point.  It is only the iBook format that can’t be sold thru any other channel.

    Do you really think that Pearson, or Mc Graw Hill can no longer sell their textbooks to schools? Get a clue!

    Sell your Stock, quit using a Mac, buy a droid or MS product and go live in the past!

    Your sincere dislike for this product is clearly noted but you are sadly mistaken on the user agreement.  How come you are the only one that doesn’t see it?

    Please, don’t bother posting because your ramblings will go unread by me.

  • minimalist1969

    Given that Apple has yet to release a clarification to the EULA and even iBooks Author critics such as Dave Wiseman don’t even think that “the Work” described in the EULA applies to the actual content (just the IBA formatting of said content) I’d say this is much ado about noithing.  The EULA specifically says:

    “If you charge a fee for any book or other work YOU GENERATE USING THIS SOFTWARE (a “Work”), you may only sell or distribute such Work through Apple (e.g., through the iBookstore) and such distribution will be subject to a separate agreement with Apple.”

    I think the sane assumption is that “the Work” only refers to files created in iBooks Author and not the content of those files.   How could Apple claim exclusive rights to content created in other apps (Word, pages or any of the hundred of text editors) in the first place?    Until we are told otherwise by Apple, I’d say jumping to conclusions about the specific meaning of legalese (that may or may not even be enforceable) is a waste of time.

  • Michael Reed

    The issue I see is that when considering the licensing terms, it’s in a publisher or writer’s best interest to ignore and not use the tool except on rare occasions where they don’t want to or are very unlikely to try targeting another platform with their work.  Otherwise at best they are creating more work for themselves and at worst they are ignoring platforms they otherwise would want to also target.

    If the tool really is much more capable than anything else out there this results in a loss for end users as in the long term most books will continue to be designed and created using lowest common denominator tools and methodologies.

    If their goal is to increase e-book quality by providing the tools to do so then they are hurting themselves by creating good reasons to ignore those tools.  After all, Apple isn’t going to start ignoring and refusing to sell books created with InDesign.

  • Marcelo Cardenas

    Apparently you know all about being childish because your comments sound like they are from a five-year old.

  • Ungenio

    Hope this help to clarify that argument that Apple “owns” the content of your work. From iBook Author License Agreement:

    D. Copyright and Content. To the extent that the Apple Software may be used to reproduce,
    modify, publish and distribute materials, it is licensed to you only for reproduction, modification
    publication or distribution of non-copyrighted materials, materials in which you own the
    copyright, or materials you are authorized or legally permitted to reproduce, modify, publish or
    distribute. Title and intellectual property rights in and to any content displayed by or accessed
    through the Apple Software belongs to the respective content owner. Such content may be
    protected by copyright or other intellectual property laws and treaties, and may be subject to
    terms of use of the third party providing such content. Except as otherwise provided in this
    License, this License does not grant you any rights to use such content nor does it
    guarantee that such content will continue to be available to you. 

  • Ungenio

    Tim, bravo!! That, said I respectfully disagree on regards that only iBook format can’t be sold through other channels. My interpretation to clause B is that even PDF or text, as generated through the Export command, can’t be sold on other channels. But clause C protects the copyrighted content, and Apple is not claiming any ownership if you don’t comply with the rules. As noted by others, you may start with content on a different format, and using other tools, re-generate a similar work. People are entitled to dislike how Apples’ business, and there are are some aspects about this particular subject that I don’t like, but it’s a far call to say it’s illegal, unethical or even greedy.

  • Captiosus

    Because stripping all the formatting back to plain text and having to reproduce the work into a second format for sale elsewhere is OH SO CONVENIENT.

    If I were an author, I’d be telling iBA where to shove it. I don’t care if it can add interactive elements. I want the greatest market exposure and I’m not inclined to have to produce the SAME WORK TWICE to do so. So I’ll just do it once, convert it twice from its raw document format to MOBI and ePUB where it can be used on the vast majority of eReaders regardless of platform.

  • Captiosus

    “Yes but the difference there is that Apple is [trying to lock you into their distribution platform to leverage their dominant market position with the iPad].”

    Fixed that for you.

    “I could create a book in word, but then I have to find a means to distribute it.”

    It’s not that hard to convert a Word document into MOBI or ePub. Once you’ve done that, hey, look, you can distribute it through a number of vendors, including Apple themselves. You don’t NEED a major publishing house to publish digitally, which is part of the problem with junk files on Amazon.

  • Captiosus

    If they’re operating on a PURELY economic basis, they’re not going to touch iBA. Why would they? iBooks will continue to support the ePub standard, which is used across several other readers.

    From a purely economic standpoint, it would be folly for them to make an ePub version, a Mobi version, and then an iBA version *just because* the iBA version can have interactive elements when the iBA version is going to be sold in the same channel as the already compatible ePub one.

  • Nevermark

    In other words, Apple owns 30% of all sales value and all non-zero price distribution rights.

    That is not owning your own content.  At best it becomes jointly owned as Apple has some very restrictive right there.

  • benmiller

    fantastic article! absoluty right!

  • Michael Dlugos

    Excuse me? I’m a Canadian and I downloaded iBooks Author on the very first day…

  • Christopher Kempke

    Seriously.  You keep stating this over, and over again, and it’s still false.  I have read the agreement.   It says the output of the tool can’t be sold elsewhere.  It DOES NOT SAY that the content used can’t be sold elsewhere.

    If you’re going to keep making this claim, show us the line that says they own the content (as opposed to the output (what the agreement calls “The Work”)).

  • Thors_Provoni

    Kyle, you can repeat your arguments as often as you like, but they will not get any better. They are wrong. Of course you can publish your text, formatted with other tools, in other eBook shops. You did not understand the difference between the final „work“ and the content.
    You can even import MS Word documents with all formattings into iBooks Author. So if you don’t have the need for interactive elements, you even have no duplication of effort. 

  • Michael Dlugos

    Have you ever published a “real” book sold for real money? I have. One made with dead trees. The publisher ALWAYS keeps a cut of the selling price. Some more than others. Check the agreements that authors have to sign to have their books published via the “traditional” book publishers. Think that the authors are the sole owners of the work? Think again. Check the copyright information in any dead tree book in your library. Notice that the publishing company is listed as AT LEAST one of the owners of the copyright? For the effort and cost of producing the book in dead tree form, the publisher not only takes a cut of the money, but usually also takes at least a part of the ownership of the work, at least in that published form.

    Look at the actual software. iBooks Author is NOT A WRITING TOOL. It is a layout and design tool. Only a silly person would actually try the heavy lifting writing in iBooks Author. It is especially good with the iWork suite. 

    The writer continues to own the writing part. If the author chooses to use this software and Apple’s store to distribute a paid (and possibly interactive) version of that written work, Apple wants 30%. Hardly onerous in the traditional scheme. If the author wants to publish the work as a dead tree edition, or a simple ebook (which is almost useless in terms of complex formatting), or as a .pdf to be read with Adobe software, you are completely free to do so. This just gives the author another choice.

  • Michael Dlugos

    Apple is not making a “great tool for all kinds of ebooks.” Apple is making a great tool for iBooks. As a graphic designer, I’ve eschewed publishing in ebook format because, in general, it does not allow for complex formatting (such as in-line graphics). To make this program generate “all kinds of ebooks” would strip it of most of the features that make it a great tool.

    As for the “draconian” agreement, it is hardly that. You should have seen the agreement I signed to get my first book published in a dead tree edition. I certainly didn’t retain the full ownership of THAT version of the book, but I did retain the original text, just not the formatted version that the publisher put out “into the wild.” Apple’s agreement is hardly different. You want to use their FREE tool, then they want their cut, and they retain some rights to THAT VERSION of your book. If you want to publish the book in another format, using different tools, then you are free to do so. iBooks author will even help you, as it does export in other formats.

  • Michael Dlugos

    Kyle, you are wrong. iBook Author is NOT designed as a writing tool, and if you try to use it as such, that’s your problem. And I see from your continued posts that you are continuing to harp on this point. You are not the sole owner of a book if you publish it IN ANY WAY that is not done entirely by yourself. Yes, if you write the book and format it and then print it in thousands of copies and compile the pages and gather them together and bind them yourself and distribute them by yourself (say, by hawking them on a street corner) you will certainly retain all and every right and profit, and justifiably so.

    However. If, at any step in the publishing process, you use another person, then they have some rights to at least a cut of the money you make from it. If you ever get a graphic designer to do the formatting of your book for free, then you’ve just found a gold mine. Most charge a substantial fee for such activity.

    Most publishing companies actually take away most of the author’s ownership of the book IN THE FORM THAT THEY HAVE PUBLISHED. Generally, publishing agreements do not allow the author to take that work to another publishing company and have the same book published in another format. However, the original text ownership will be retained by the author.

    From all I’ve seen, Apple’s requirements are no different, and their 30% cut is actually pretty liberal. 

    I perceive that you are pissed because Apple didn’t make an awesome free tool that would allow you to generate a generic ebook that you could sell to anyone, anywhere. 

  • Michael Dlugos

    You are wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Apple owns rights to the version that was created in iBook Author, not the original content. YOU should read the agreement. Just how much is Amazon paying you to post all of these trolling posts anyway? Hopefully it’s pretty good coin, because you are just totally on about this, and yet, you are still wrong.

  • Michael Dlugos

    If you actually try to use iBook Author to WRITE your work, then you are a fool. iBook Author is a FORMATTING tool, not a writing tool. Apple owns some rights to the final formatted version of the work, not the original text that the author wrote in say, Pages. And, BTW, look at the agreements Microsoft makes you agree to with MS Word. You don’t blow out for Pro versions, their restrictions are pretty draconian.

    Tell you what. Write a book. Ask a professional graphic designer to lay out said book for free, or for no rights in lieu of payment of cash. Record the designer’s response. Then use that response as a laugh track for any sitcom. You’ll make a bundle.

  • Michael Dlugos

    Actually look at the software before you write this stuff. iBook Author allows you to EXPORT your work to other formats, which precludes them from owning ALL rights to your book. 

    IF you choose to use the FREE software to format a book, then you will have to use Apple’s distribution channel to sell it, and if you sell it, they want their cut. Hardly onerous, IMHO.

  • vanfruniken

    Are you suggesting that the soon-to-be-popular iBooks Authoring tool will make iPads evil because kids could be exposed to works not in the school’s program? 
    Well, in that case, maybe our eyes themselves should be considered evil… Just rip them out! (yours first)

  • Michael Dlugos

    No Kyle, “everyone” is not upset by this. YOU are upset by this, because you have apparently misread the agreement, and, as I have said before, if you use this tool to actually write your work, then you are as big a fool as your post make you out to be. ‘Nuff said.

  • vanfruniken

    One more thing… Maybe Apple’s iBooks / iTunesU model will in the end be a nice alternative for scientific authors, who are still under big pressure to publish their articles on peer reviewed journals (such as Nature, those of the IEEE, etc,). They or their labs are advised to contribute a page fee for publishing (which will buy them a number of reprints — a somewhat outdated way to distribute copies to personal contacts), but the catch is that subscription to those journals is extremeley expensive (I payed an arm and a leg during my career and they didn’t even offer me free electronic access to the materials after I retired!!!). Or one can download individual articles one by one for a rather stiff page fee as well.
    This evolution seriously hampers the distribution of scientific results to the general community, which does contribute to science education. Paying sites such as PubMed and Reed Publishing are the usual endpoint of a search for scientific information. Many papers can’t be offered for free because of the restrictive author’s right transfer clauses used by the traditional scientific journals.Not surprisingly, there is a movement amongst scientists to make scientific results more readily available, called the Open Access (OA) movement.
    Apple’s iBooks / iTunesU ecosystem has now evolved to a promising phase.
    Critics may object that the traditional scientific journals offer the guarantee of peer review, so maybe Apple should add this feature as well (without incurring any major costs!).
    IMHO, the machinery is already in place in that users can add their opinions to the preview section.
    The preview section to the iTunes / iBooks store should be enhanced for that:
    (i) a special class of reviewers (by invitation from recognized scientists) should author the peer review section;
    (ii) a long-standing flaw of the preview system in that only user comments from the local national iTunes store are visible and included in the statistics, should be removed (or enhanced to allow selectiveinclusion/by language/script/region (even worldwide) ).

  • Michael Dlugos

    You’ve obviously never made an ePub. It’s a very lame when it comes to formatting options. And publishing a book IN ANY WAY is “oh so convenient.” Go sign an agreement with a major publishing house and see your rights get flushed down the toilet, then come back and complain about formatting a book twice.

  • Fring

    Good try Michael.
    Anyone can dip into the font of knowledge but only asses drink from the trough of denial.

  • Michael Dlugos

    Um, yes, but it’s also a 1.0 version. Did you ever use PageMaker 1.0 (the software that eventually became InDesign, which is at, like, version 11 (not to mention the 8 or 10 versions of PageMaker that preceded it)? I did. I beta-tested it. You maxed out at 16 pages. TOTAL. You had FOUR fonts to choose from (Times, Helvetica, Courier and Symbol) Yet at the time, it was revolutionary, ground-breaking, and the best thing since sliced bread. Tell me iBook Author will look, act, work or be the same in 15 or 20 versions, and I’ll ask you for some of that stuff you’re smoking, ’cause it’s obviously top of the line hallucinogenic.

    Also, why would you re-type your book when you can just import your word processing file?

  • Michael Dlugos

    Oh sorry, I should also mention things such as… did you ever use the first Mac? It ran an operating system called “Finder 0.95.” Do you think OS 10.7 is the same software? Hardly. Everything evolves. iBook Author will, as well, and if Apple keeps on as Apple, we’ll probably see a 1.1 version within a few months, and a 2.0 with vastly improved functionality in a year or so….

  • Michael Dlugos

    What makes you think that you can’t re-purpose your original content in another format and distribute it any way you please?

  • Michael Dlugos

    No, the agreement states that if you create an iBook with iBook Author, then you agree to sell THAT FORMATTED VERSION through Apple’s storefront and they retain some rights TO THAT VERSION. If you take your original content and use, say, InDesign to create a .pdf or an ebook (or a dead tree edition – try one of those agreements on for size!), you are free to do with it as you will.

  • Michael Dlugos

    Hardly “unethical and shitty.” I suggest you take your book to a traditional dead-tree publisher and read over one of their author agreements. Then you will understand what “shitty” really means. And no one has ever accused them of being “unethical.”

    I suspect you are being paid by the word from someone like Amazon who are, no doubt, scared shitless by the possibilities this software opens up for REAL writers who want to publish their stuff.

  • Michael Dlugos

    That is incorrect. The ePub format is pretty lame in terms of formatting options. It does not even allow for in-line graphics, which eliminates most of the tools that something like InDesign offers you. For my book, I rejected the ePub format for this reason. When I exported my InDesign file into ePub format, the thing was a disastrous mess, totally unusable. I was forced to use .pdf as the output format in order to maintain any semblance of the design that I had created. Now I can use iBook Author to create an ebook that will be the design I want. This is very exciting.

    Apple’s goal IS to increase e-book quality, but to do so, they have to create a new standard – and this is the first step.

  • Michael Dlugos

    What HUGE catch? That Apple retains certain rights if you use their software and their storefront to sell the book? You think an author retains all rights to a book when published in a dead tree edition? 

    If you sign an agreement with, say, Doubleday to publish your book, they certainly don’t allow you to take the same content down to Delacorte Press and sell it as well, so I have no idea what you are actually talking about (and yes, I have signed one of those agreements to have one of my books published in a dead tree edition).

  • Michael Dlugos

    Yes! Finally someone gets it! The great thing about iBook Author is that it allows you to create a beautiful eBook with complex formatting and lots of choices and options. In order to do this, you agree to sell the book through Apple’s storefront and give them a cut of the money.

    If you want to make a generic eBook in say, ePub format and live with all of the lameness of that particular format, more power to you. ePub does not allow for in-line graphics, does not allow for interactive elements, does not allow for video content, etc. etc. etc. This iBook format WILL. This is what is exciting about it. And I can’t wait to see what Apple adds to it in subsequent updates…

  • Michael Dlugos

    Absolutely it’s the wrong analogy. iBook Author is NOT a writing tool. If you want to use a hammer to bake a cake, then expect unexpected results.

    Take your book to a traditional dead tree publisher and read one of their publishing contracts. Then you will understand what it’s like to be “bent over.”

  • Mathias Sorg

    I fully agree with Michael and I don’t get what people are complaining about!

    1) You get a free tool that helps you to design/set your own book. Through this you have 1 reason to not needing an old fashioned publisher anymore, who are very selective by nature (as they simply can’t handle the volume of written material send to them anymore).

    2) Then you use Apple’s own channel to distribute this version of the book. That’s reason number 2, why you don’t need an old fashioned publisher anymore.

    3) Next you go ahead and do the same thing with any other offer out there on the market BECAUSE YOU STILL OWN the copyright of your own product, which is the text itself, not the designed book.
    And yes, Apple takes 30% for this. But that’s for the use of the distribution channel, not the damn tool.

    Do you guys get it? Anybody out there who is seriously writing and trying to publish his stuff for money, is going to pay a certain margin to publishers anyway. And as previously stated, you would give away your copyright to the publisher. The publisher then decides how and where your book is being distributed.

    Honestly, I think this is a pretty fair offer from Apple and will be of good use for many writers out there who don’t care if they have to design their own book twice or three times. If you’ve actually written a book yourself, you know that it takes months and years to do so, what do I care about the proprietary design I create per channel that might take me a night or two!?!

    Writing a book takes a lot of effort and if someone is willing to let me utilize a massive global online distribution channel, I’m happy to sacrifice a fair share (as otherwise nobody would see your book anyway).

  • tony_cook

    I agree with rattyuk. Nobody is going to write a book in Author, just like nobody will write a book in Indesign. You would write it in your word processor of choice and then use the various tools available to publish it to the different store out there.

    I recently had to convert a book from print format (created in Indesign) to the .mobi format to
    upload to Amazon. Luckily Amazon have a Indesign Plugin but it was still a big job to reset the whole book so that it worked in the formatting restrictions of a digital book.

    I did
    quickly look into iBooks but at that time you could only upload as a
    word doc which would have been too limiting bu the type of book, now with iBook Author available this may be an option for the author if they wish.

  • vierkant

    No, it is the wrong analogy. You are oversimplifying Tool and Output and their Uses.

    Word is pretty much one complete standard (and to MS’ credit, they have opened it up, as Adobe have opened up PDF for the most part). There are still issues with Word — use certain technologies within it (VBA scripts or macros, or whatever the heck they are), and you get problems in Pages, OpenOffice, etc.

    Even more so, iBook2 format is more than one standard, it is a custom grouping of standards (HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, etc.), all put together in harmony to create a superior product.

    Your complaint about iBookAuthor is more like saying, “why can’t I use .Net Tools to create an iApp, it’s not fair, MS is greedy and manipulative.”
    Think of iBook2 format as an API. It’s pretty simple.

    Anyway, at the moment, the iBookStore is the only thing taking advantage of all the new stuff, so the complaints are moot. Apple is giving you something extra. There may be a time when the competitors finally support all the standards properly and could theoretically start using iBook files or modified iBook files. Apple just doesn’t want all its efforts to make it easy for them to catch up — they need to do their own work.

    So, anyone who has a problem with this should just go and make a Flash book or something. Wrestle with Adobe Flash Studio, or drop your HTML onto one of those “flipping book” plugins and get on with it already. I gave up creating interactive CD-ROMs in 1999 because Flash killed the object-oriented tools and platforms and we have been in chains ever since, along with browsers that don’t support standards. And you whine about Apple pushing the envelope forward?

  • tony_cook

    Even before iBook Author you still had to reproduce your book into various formats. The author will generally write the book in Word then you typeset it in Indesign to be used for print, then you re typeset it to export out for amazon, then you would have to export the text only out back into word to upload for iBook (now you can use Author so the book so the pages can actually be designed).

    iBook Author coming onto the scene will not dramatically change the workflow, it just enables you to produce better books to be sold via Apple iBooks.

  • tony_cook

    Agree. Writing the book takes months, typesetting it up for the various takes several hours each, and you DO have to create different versions for each channel (print, .mobi, .epub, .ibook etc).

    Apples 30% cut also also great compared to Amazons 30-70% cut. It’s a far more simple pricing structure.

  • freerange

    Brightest bulb in your class where you? Bye bye!

  • minimalist1969

    It’s not Apple’s responsibility to give you free software that makes it “convenient” for you to publish your books to their competitor’s ebook stores.   If that’s what you want, go buy In Design or Creative Suite and publish to any of the other bookstores.  Not only are they expensive but they have very steep leaening curves and maddening interfaces.   Which makes them inconvenient in their own ways as well.  Or if you really want convenience, get your book in with a traditional publisher and let them typeset it for all the major eBookstores.  And they will take a hefty cut on top of what Amazon or Apple or B&N take. 

    You are going to pay for convenience one way or another.

  • athenap

    Apple is not a publisher. Doubleday is. 

    If Doubleday offers for a book from an author, it’s because an editor there who’s versed in what sells in the industry believes the book will be a profitable undertaking. Apple does not appear to have an editorial board, nor do they have a specific market or markets under which they will sell your book, or discernible standards by which your submission will be measured.

    Doubleday has editorial and marketing staff that will work to make your book as polished and marketable as it can be. Doubleday has sales reps and distribution channels and foreign rights managers that will get your paper book into as wide a range of bookstores and other retail outlets as possible. Apple actively restricts your retail outlets to one. And, when your contract term with Doubleday runs out and your book goes out of print, you receive the rights back and you CAN trot down to Delacorte and see if they want it.

    Barnes and Noble doesn’t retain rights to your book by selling it in their bookstore–ebook or paper book. Amazon retains no rights to your book–ebook or paper book. They both take a cut, but I am free to sell my kindle edition or my ePub edition on Smashwords, off my website, or out of the trunk of my car if I want to.

    All this aside, Apple is really not interested in the single author or the Indie author. Apple is interested in ensuring their “free” content creation method gets adopted at the institutional level, which means the content creators will have no other sanctioned option to use anything else, which locks their content consumers into purchase through the Apple retail store. And the institutions of which I speak are schools and universities.

  • minimalist1969

    I agree.  All this hysteria that iBooks Author (IBA) won’t let you easily publish books in other formats for other eBookstores is ridiculous.  Not only is that not Apple’s responsibility, but its not the purpose of IBA.   A quick glance at the export options shows it only has three export options… iBooks format, PDF and plain text (which removes all formatting).  If you use a free layout tool with limited export options to write your work you are a fool.  Its just a way for people to typeset books and prepare them for the iBooks store without having to go through traditional publishing channels.   Nothing more, nothing less.

  • jschaff


    What does this word mean? Did you mean viciously?

  • drackmere

    Michael, I truly think you are wasting your time.  Most of these people do not understand the concept, or for some reason lack great critical reading/thinking skills.  The other option of course is that they have never published a book.  So I think this will go on indefinitely until the process becomes widespread, then they will get it. Maybe.

  • Norm Dwyer

    Mike, thanks for being a voice of reason.

  • minimalist1969

    You paid 270 dollars for a copy of Word.  Microsoft already made their money off of you.  iBooks Author (IBA) is free.  The unspoken assumption is that in return for this free tool Apple gets to benefit directly or indirectly from work you create with it (either from a cut of sales or the free books that make the iBooks/iOS ecosystem more desirable).  If you expect to be given free tools to make books for all major platforms you need to look elsewhere.  i dare say you will find that very little in this world is ever truly “free”.  You always pay in one way or another.

    Not to mention that you must pay the full price of Word if you want to profit from the output.  The less expensive Home and Student  versions prohibit you from selling what you produce with the software.

  • minimalist1969

    But you CLEARLY don’t understand!   Apple OWES us the exact software we want.   We are entitled to tools that give us one touch publishing to all eBooks standards…. Apple’s custom standards and better eBook experience be damned.    We want it ALL and we want it NOW and we want it FREE!  (sarcasm)

  • yt7509

    ebook, epub, ibook, pdf, text, apps, websites !
    What is needed in this “affair” is a new role more than anything
    This new role could be described as “personal contracts/licences
    holder” “account managers for personal contract/licences and
    login/passwds or certificates”(no contents or copies in there, just
    references), something like that, several of them of course, and ability to
    move all your “assets” or “belongings” from one to the
    other, so that a trust relationship can exist regarding the privacy of these
    data (and privacy of these data also under strong legal constraints for these
    Then you can have an environment with a clear role separation between these
    organisations on one side, and editors, on line shops, on line content holders
    and difusers on the other.
    Which then could allow a user to buy an ebook, apps, websites (access to)
    “for life”(or with some timing guarenteed in a strict legal point of
    view, but “for life” in spirit), possibility of upgrade if new
    edition and you feel like it, and that’s it.
    Enough with these “private bookshelves”(music, video, sito shelves)
    linked to some device maker, on line shops, “social network”, or some
    other giant !
    A bit more developed below :
    (and in the “copies_licences” text (2007) linked in the post)

    And almost EVERYTHING already there really

  • minimalist1969

    “Yes, but when you pay that price, you don’t keep paying and microsoft
    can’t take your creation away from you. read the agreement.”

    So because Microsoft chooses a different business model to pay for the development of Word Apple is obligated to follow that model with iBooks Author?   Is Apple obligated to license OSX too just because Microsoft licenses Windows?    Are they obligated to make their app store “open” simply because Google runs their app store that way?

    Seriously, why do you keep hyperventilating about this?   Several posters have asked for you to prove how Apple has exclusive rights to the CONTENT of your work when the EULA says “the Work” is “any book or other work you generate using this software”.

  • Jamie

    No…indesign doesn’t know how to export inline graphics properly into epub (something adobe is still working on). epub does know how to handle them. It’s a translation error, not a format error. (try looking at some the of the ebooks available now – they have graphics, floating images and multi-media embedded and you can match any design.

  • minimalist1969

    Notice how Kyle never actually quotes the EULA?  Yet he has filled up this board with multiple instances of the same hysterical rant, as if he repeats it enough times it will becomes true.   But the EULA says quite plainly:

    “If you charge a fee for any book or other work you generate using this software (a “Work”), you may only sell or distribute such Work through Apple (e.g., through the iBookstore) and such distribution will be subject to a separate agreement with Apple.”

    A “Work” as defined by this agreement is not the text and images themselves but the product GENERATED using the software.   It’s not that difficult to understand. 

    Expecting Apple to supply you with free software to compile and export your ebooks to competitor’s formats is no different than going into your publishers office and demanding that you be given a copy of the final edited and typeset version of your book to take across town to a competing publisher.

  • minimalist1969

    “work” and “Work” have very different legal meanings as definied by the agreement.  This is why the capital w “Work” is defined in bold text in the EULA as being:

    “any book or other work you generate using this
    software (a “Work”), …”

    The Work is the product you GENERATED with the software (ie the iBooks file).   The work (ie the content) is still solely yours.  You can republish to other stores using different software but you can only use iBooks Author as a means to get your book on the iBookstore or to produce free content.

  • minimalist1969

    “work” and “Work” have very different legal meanings as definied by the agreement.  This is why the capital w “Work” is defined in bold text in the EULA as being:

    “any book or other work you generate using this
    software (a “Work”), …”

    The Work is the product you GENERATED with the software (ie the iBooks file).   The work (ie the content) is still solely yours.  You can republish to other stores using different software but you can only use iBooks Author as a means to get your book on the iBookstore or to produce free content.

  • Bridges Canada

    There isn’t a compelling argument made by apple that makes these restrictions and conditions necessary or beneficial.  They just didn’t have to do it this way.  Think about Garageband, a piece of software that is used by noodling amateurs and pros doing demos, alike.  Wouldn’t it be ridiculous if everything you created in Garageband could only be distributed on iTunes and played only on an iPod?  
    there is no way to justify making the means of production or media, dictate the means of distribution and consumption.  If it were music we’d think it ridiculous — if its books, its supposed to be quality control?

  • Tim Gaines

    Would you really sell your book as a PDF or text only version in the first place.  Did Amazon start selling ebooks in PDF or text only versions recently?  If you were serious about selling your book, I would hope that you would create it on some other authoring tool as well.  Am I wrong in this?

    Don’t you think that there are app developers out there (most likely all of them) that created their apps using Apples Xcode and then used a “Copy/Paste” technique with their content to port it to a different compiler for a different OS?  Doing so required the developers to rewrite the code using different compiler attributes but certainly didn’t require the content to change.  Is this any different?  

    I think people are reading way to much into this.  

    It’s simple, create your book using iBooks Author, feel free to send it to Apple to be published in their store, Export the text of your book (If you didn’t already have it created in Word or Pages in the first place).  Re-create the book in any other book authoring tool as you would like (They just won’t have the multi-touch capabilities found in iBooks Author).

    You won’t be sued by Apple,  they won’t care.  You just can’t sell the iBooks Author created file anywhere else other then in iBooks. This shouldn’t even be a concern because no one else supports Apples proprietary format anyway.   Share your book with anyone you wish that has an iPad but in doing so, you have to give it away for free or else they will need to purchase it in the iBooks store.

    You are right, it’s not illegal, unethical or even greedy.  You have choices and you can always choose to not publish in iBooks.  Although, if you really want to keep ahead of the curve and profit from your book, why would you want to sell your book in any other format unless you really don’t care about the Multi-touch capabilities.  

    When another company like Adobe or Amazon or even Google copies this idea and develops their own tools,  feel free to use them.  There is no doubt in my mind that this will certainly happen.  It probably won’t be for at least another year or two but I’m sure in that time Apple will be well beyond their version 1.0 of their App and by then maybe even the kindle fire will support some of these capabilities (albeit to a lesser degree).

  • whiplash55

    The author didn’t disprove anything Bott said, and he (Bott) certainly wasn’t the only one criticizing Apple for this new EULA.

  • Michael Reed

    I didn’t mean to suggest that the quality is the necessarily the same, simply that so long as there is a need for a non-iPad version of someone’s work they will have to make some choices on where they want to spend their time.  The best case is that they devote sufficient time to producing quality versions in both formats getting as much from the respective format as possible.  I suspect the more common case will be that they spend more time on the less impressive version and either sell that as is on the iBookstore or minimally tack on some interactive bits.

    Given that textbooks are a major focus for this new publishing tool we can look to their use as an example.  Until it can be assumed as a given that every student taking a particular subject will have an iPad in their hand, that district/board/etc is not likely to select an iBook as that course’s official textbook.  If that’s the case, which format is a publisher likely to set as their first priority?  I personally think it will be hard copy first, epub second, and then ibook.  

    If they had focused more on solving the problem of versioning and graceful degradation (from iBook to paper) and left the restrictive licensing off I think they would see more uptake of their tool and better achieve the goal of improved e-book quality.

  • Lewis Wetzel

    EXPORT your work to other formats formatted in IBA and ask Apple if you can sell that somewhere else.  From what I read it has to be sold by them or given away.

     “If you charge a fee for any book or other work YOU GENERATE USING THIS SOFTWARE (a “Work”),”

    Now who is it that is to dumb to understand what they read?

  • Lewis Wetzel

    My point above is about the output, whether that is ePUB, PDF, or Klingon.  IF you create an output from the tool it is theirs.  There is no reason to use the software to write the book but there is to format it in a certain way.  Then to keep that format you have to OUTPUT it in one of the formats allowed.  Then they have you! Even though you could market anywhere with PDF.

  • Lewis Wetzel

    “If you charge a fee for any book or other work YOU GENERATE USING THIS
    SOFTWARE (a “Work”), you may only sell or distribute such Work through
    Apple (e.g., through the iBookstore) and such distribution will be
    subject to a separate agreement with Apple.”

    The software can output PDF I believe. Should I read it for you?  By the way who died and made you God?  Others have the right to state their opinion.  If you can’t take the heat….

  • airmanchairman

    For least a decade if not more, the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Amazon and others have had the infrastructural capability (Tablet PC’s, eReaders, various document, interactive web video and animation file formats, online sales etc) to do all alone or in strategic partnerships what Apple has just done with iBook Author and iBooks 2. What has been lacking, as usual, is the vision, drive and compassion to implement such a bold initiative.

    And yet, we’ll see them scrambling to emulate, reverse-engineer, embrace and extend Apple’s efforts in no time now. Too little, too late: Apple is well versed in their shenanigans, having survived life-threatening assaults of far greater magnitude in the desktop PC / online world and emerged wiser and much swifter-moving. As with the PMP and App store markets, by the time anything can be done about it, the middle to high end of the interactive ebook market will have been sewn up, and all that would be required to maintain a prominent position would be steady, progressive improvements and excellent customer support. 

    In the intervening “catch-up” time (not gonna happen), the competition’s paid shills will scream blue murder and foul play, invoking various imaginary anti-trust clauses to condemn Apple.

    Game over right from the start. 

  • minimalist1969

    I listened to Bott and Elgan debate on TWiT yesterday.  Bott’s argument essentiially boiled down to the following things:

    1. Apple previously bragged about their support of ePub, now they have changed direction.  

    2. Apple is blatantly creating lock in with their store in this manner.

    3. Apple COULD have let authors export from IBA in all formats and let the market decide which format (ePub or the greatly enhanced iBooks format) would win.

    Number one is true.  But so what?  If they want to create a better experience for customers then why not introduce a new format?  Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of books that publishers have already put on the iBookstore are still ePub… which means both formats are supported.

    Number two is true as well.  But its no different than what Amazon or B&N are doing.  Everybody has their format and their own DRM.  May the best store win.

    Number three is a bit absurd.  Apple creates products primarily with users in mind.  They have never cared that much about making things easy for their partners.  It was true with the Mac, it was true with iOS and the App Store and its true with the iBookstore as well.  And I understand  their attitude.  As a professional who works with many consultants my goal is always on producing the best quality product I can for the client, not making life easier for my consultants.   If he cost of getting your book on the iBookstore means resetting it in iBooks Author using the original text and graphics files than so be it.  Authors and publishers will have to decide whether that is worthwhile to them or not. My guess is that many if not most authors will determine the monetary return is well worth any up-front hassle.

    Bott is entitled to his opinions.  But none of what Apple is doing with IBA should come as a surprise.   What Apple is doing is hardly “evil”. It’s simply in their and their customers best interest. Expecting them to all of the sudden to care that their free software doesn’t make it easy for authors to get their books into their competitor’s stores is more than a bit naive.

  • minimalist1969

    Garageband costs 20 dollars for a Mac and I’d be willing to bet at that price they are still taking a hit or its all just a wash.   In return Apple sells more Macs because iLife is included for “free”.

    IBA is a free download and in return Apple gets a glut of free iBooks bolstering the desirability of the iOS ecosystem as well as a cut of content people create with it for the iBookstore.  Its simply a different business model.   I suppose they COULD charge 20 or 40 bucks for iBooks Author and let you do whatever you want with the output but they obviously think this model will be better for iOS and the iBookstore in the long run.  Its also probably better for revenues as well.. which is exactly what a for profit company is supposed to be doing.  if the market bears it Apple will continue to structure the iBookstore production pipeline this way.   If Kindle continues to dominate ebooks then maybe Apple will change their deal.

  • minimalist1969

    Garageband costs 20 dollars for a Mac and I’d be willing to bet at that price they are still taking a hit or its all just a wash.   In return Apple sells more Macs because iLife is included for “free”.

    IBA is a free download and in return Apple gets a glut of free iBooks bolstering the desirability of the iOS ecosystem as well as a cut of content people create with it for the iBookstore.  Its simply a different business model.   I suppose they COULD charge 20 or 40 bucks for iBooks Author and let you do whatever you want with the output but they obviously think this model will be better for iOS and the iBookstore in the long run.  Its also probably better for revenues as well.. which is exactly what a for profit company is supposed to be doing.  if the market bears it Apple will continue to structure the iBookstore production pipeline this way.   If Kindle continues to dominate ebooks then maybe Apple will change their deal.

  • Lauren Atmore

    The only people who would be interested in publishing a free/super cheap book would be those doing so for educational purposes. Except you will never be able to assume everyone in a class has access to an iPad, so you have to make it available for the lowest common denominator.. aka a print book. Which obviously resists iBook’s interactive features. So why spend time enhancing one version of a book when it’s the minority of kids who can even look at that copy? More kids still could find a Kindle or another e-reader to run an epub file, which is still supported by iBooks reader. iBooks gets left out. If you are stupid enough to be looking to make money off publishing your book using iBooks, you will lose money. Yes it’s free to create it, but would a properly interactive version of any print book be worthwhile? See what Sylvia Plath’s handwritten manusripts look like! Super cool but not enough to a) make a publisher choose a less distributible form, b) get people to buy iPads to get the book when you can just Google it or buy it in epub version to use on your account across your Kindle Fire, your wife’s Kindle Touch and your kid’s Kindle 4. 
    So, iBooks for education = useless
    iBooks for publishers = quick way to stunt the sale of your book across all forms

  • Lauren Atmore

    The Journal of scholarly publishing confirms this (see 
    http://digital.utpjournals.com…, citing a study 

  • Spike Ennis

    Mike, this is the first sensible, competent, and informative article on the subject that i have seen. Keep up the great work.  Facts are facts but emotion just runs all over the place. :-)


  • Zim Zala

    So what you’re saying here, is that if I release my manuscript on iBooks, I’m also free to release it on other distribution sites or hard print (so long as I don’t use iBooks to generate it)? That’s my only concern, otherwise, iBooks is wonderful.

  • Jonathan Gardner

    One thing Apple could do to make people happy with this, is to keep the
    free version of iBooksAuthor with its iBooks exclusive publishing, but
    also release a paid version (say $19.99, like the iWork Apps in the Mac App Store) with the ability to publish where the author pleases.

  • Jamie

    Seriously? You don’t think epub allows for graphics and design. I don’t think you know what’s out there. Hell, there are ebook design awards given now for best use of graphics, fonts, etc as part of the Book Innovation Awards. There’s are entire categories for enhancements like video, audio, interactive and java add-ins. I don’t think you really understand the ebook market or where it has developed in the last 2 years. hopefully, this tool will help you…

  • AndreaCouvert

    you can create a webpage where the people pay the access and in this page you download FOR FREE the ibook

  • GoldHorde
  • rayfilwong

    My cousin committed suicide 3 years ago. He looked at failure as the end. I was devastated. My cousin was gone! It was so painful, and I then made a decision to help others.

    I wanted to write a book to encourage children that failure is not the end, but an opportunity to begin again but more intelligently the next time around. This concept I learned from Henry Ford.

    I hope that children will read the book and understand that life is about persevering through challenges and through this journey we learn more about ourselves.

    So for me to be able to self publish an interactive book has been great.

    Yes, Apple takes 30% but they provide the billing and technology.

    At the end, more business will thrive from a great marketing strategy which we are trying to figure out. Suggestions are welcome.

    just my few cents

    The Brave Unicorn Author

    -Rayfil King Wong