Delicious Monster’s Wil Shipley reluctantly flattered by the iBooks interface



A lot of commentators on the iPad noticed the similarity between Delicious Library and the iBooks virtual bookshelves for the display of e-book titles. So did Delicious Monsters Wil Shipley.

Talking to the Washington Post, Shipley seemed upset… but also seemed to understand.

But the thing about iBooks is, it’s a book-reader. So, of course they looked around, found the best interface for displaying books (Delicious Library’s shelves), and said: yup, this is what we’re doing…

Shipley then notes that he actually understands why Apple couldn’t write him a check: it would have been taken as a legal admission that Apple copied his design, and since Delicious Library’s UI isn’t copyrighted or patented, it actually would open up culpability, not close it.

But Shipley then continued with some somber thoughts on what it feels like as an author to see your work copied, yet unrecognized:

As a creator, part of what I seek is recognition, immortality. I don’t work for Apple, or Google (I’ve been offered jobs & buyouts) because I want the fame myself. It’s my shot at immortality. My designs are my children. So it stinks when I feel like Steve might get the fame for my innovation. I lose my children, as it were.

But your children aren’t really yours. They have lives of their own. So when your designs do change the world, you have to accept it. You have to say, ‘Ok, this was such a good idea, other people took it and ran with it. I win.’

I think this is an adult reaction, and as Shipley notes, it seems like he’s turned down the same job offers that Apple made most of his Delicious Library colleagues.

Still, it does seem like some bad cricket on Apple’s part. The inspiration and, some might say, downright plagiarism seems pretty clear: it’s frankly impossible that Apple was unfamiliar with Shipley’s work.

Ultimately, though, it seems like Shipley is resigned to being reluctantly flattered by the iBooks swipe. Hopefully, though, he’ll have learned a lesson: next time he comes up with a great idea, he’ll make sure it is patented.