Why iBooks will never come to Mac OS X

Yesterday’s “iBooks 2.0 and iBooks Author announcements were another evolutionary step toward Apple’s total domination of digital content creation and delivery,” Jason D. O’Grady writes for ZDNet. “The problem is that Apple is artificially limiting its new publishing poster child — iBooks — to iOS in order to squeeze every last cent out of consumers that it can.”

“Back in September 2011, I chose Amazon’s Kindle app over iBooks for one simple reason: it’s available on the desktop,” O’Grady writes. “I know that there are a whole generation of keyboard cutters coming up in the ranks, but I’m not one of them. My iPad will never fully replace my MacBook Air with it’s glorious keyboard, USB ports and external mouse. At least not in the foreseeable future.”

O’grady writes, “Apple makes its money from selling hardware (iPhones, iPads and Macs) and it sells software (apps, music, movies) mostly as a way to move hardware. Apple’s answer to students with MacBook Airs, of course, is to buy an iPad!”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Damn that greedy Apple for giving away iBooks Author, iBooks, and, for that matter, iTunes U for free. Wait, what?


  1. I agree with the author. I don’t own an iPad. I can use my iMac to get stanford university classes video through iTunes, but because there is no app, I can’t get any of the worksheets etc.

    1. Which is exactly why Apple will never dominate the ebook market like it does music. iTunes is available on Windows as well as Mac and iOS. And third party solutions like DoubleTwist have made syncing with an iTunes library a possibility for Android as well. If you want to control the digital market, you have to have availability on multiple platforms.

      My take is that Apple is not going after the whole digital ebook market. Instead, it really is just trying to carve off a nice slice of it, with a clear objective to sell more iPads. This is a good strategy, as others already have a very strong foothold in ebooks — realistically Apple isn’t going to dominate this industry like it currently does with music.

  2. Although, he does have a point. iBooks and the new iTunes U looks great. And yes, they give it away for free as a loss leader to sell iOS devices, which is why they won’t make it available for Mac OS. On the other hand, he also has a point that many Mac users will probably, instead of shelling out for an iPad, just stick with buying Kindle books (which, for books I’ve noticed available on both devices, by and large are less expensive for the Kindle edition) and reading them on their Mac. Or they may do what I do, and just stick with iBooks for the iPhone.

    1. My family has two iPads, two MacBooks, and three iPhones. However, the iPads get used by my wife and daughter. I most often consume media on my MacBook Air and I do work on my MacBook Pro. I can read iBooks on my iPhone 4S, but it sure would be nice if Apple released iBooks for Mac OS so I could read my pleasure books on the Air and my reference books on my Pro when I need to refer to them.

      As the author of the article states I have kept my book purchases limited the Kindle because of my cross-platform limitation.

      I don’t suggest iBooks for Windows, just for Mac OS.

  3. “Case in point: my primary production rig is a MacBook Air connected to a 27-inch Thunderbolt display and Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. I wrote a reference book about Apple in 2008 and I often refer to it while writing. I purchased my book from the Kindle Store so that I can read and search it from my Mac and my iDevices.

    Had I purchased my ebook from the iBookstore, I’d have to switch from my production workstation to my iPad each time I wanted to look something up. This kind of workflow is unpractical, cumbersome and makes researching ebooks on my Mac completely impossible.”

    What a clusterfsck. If I was in that situation, I wouldn’t want anything to do with iBooks either.

    Apple not bringing iBooks to OS X is a very stupid decision.

    1. So exactly how many people are in your situation? You must make up, what? 0.001% of the customer base that Apple are selling to? If I was in Apple’s position I wouldn’t give a flying fuck about such a tiny, tiny percentage of people either. You are. Just. Not. Significant.
      And frankly, reading a book on a laptop screen is such a pain I’d rather not bother, I’ll stick with my phone.

      1. Not the point- I would LOVE to be able to read books on my laptop. If I fly somewhere and need my MBP, why do I also have to take my iPad. In fact, why do I need to own an iPad at all? It’s ridiculous that iBooks is not available for OS X.

      2. I buy a lot of books online, but I’ll only buy from the iTunes store if it’s not available somewhere else for the Kindle. Why?
        I have an iPhone, an iPad, and a Macbook Pro connected to a 32″ Samsung 1080p TV I use as a monitor. I have the Kindle app loaded on all of them.
        When I’m away from home, reading a book on the iPad is fine, but I get tired of holding it. I’ll use my iPhone only as a last resort. When I’m at home, it’s a joy to sit back and read books on that huge display. I will not use my iPad at home unless it’s to read a book that’s only available from the iTunes store.
        You may think there are not that many people like me, but you’d be wrong. I know a good dozen people who feel like I do. They’d much rather have the option to read a book on their desktop as well as their iPhone and/or iPad.

  4. Not really..read last sentence, first paragraph. He’s poking Apple for being greedy. Show me any corporate entity that has invested in education as much as Apple, even dating back to Jobs and NEXT, in addition to free authoring tools.

    1. Now that I don’t see them doing. They’re going to want to remain the dominant platform for content creation. Making a Windows version of iBook Author wouldn’t be like a Windows version of iTunes, it would be like a Windows version of Logic.

    2. That won’t happen until an OS X version is released.

      IMO, Apple may be acting cautious about opening it to other platforms, or their own OS until they get the oddities worked out.

  5. I knew it! I hated it when HP and IBM did not make calculators that can type! Or Samsung did not put printer port to their TV so we cannot just print images out of whatever on TV! Damn!

  6. I still buy ebooks on Kindle because my eyesight is so bad I need the huge print on my iMac 27″ screen. Really want everything accessible on my iMac. Still will purchase iPad3 to access these textbooks, iTunes U and make my own books with iBooks Author. Learning is THE way to progress and have a better life so it is worth it.

        1. ‘course it does. I had contacts in the other day and forgot my reading glasses so just increased the text size a couple of points so I could read my book.
          On my iPhone. Worked fine, and while a 10″ screen is obviously smaller than a 27″ iMac, how, exactly, do you manage with paper books, newspapers and magazines? You can’t resize those, and an iPad screen is about the same size as a hardcover book. You’re just being a pedant and making excuses for your own shortcomings.

    1. I could see if iBooks was available on the Mac and the Windoze crowd were the ones complaining that they didn’t have a version. But to not even work on OS X? It’s preposterous.

    1. Maybe he’s got a keyboard and large external monitor too. Then the external mouse reference would make sense. That’s how I’ve got my daughter set up at college – MacBook Air with external mouse, monitor and keyboard.

    2. I know, the very definition of ol’ man Crotchety Contradictions. It must be hard living in a world changing so fast, yet be so dead set against it. And against those kids on your lawn.

    3. I have both a trackpad AND a Logitech multi button mouse on my iMac

      The trackpad is great, but it’s absolutely horrible at games, angry birds works great though..

      And sign me up for iBooks for osx.
      Screw windows, but on the Mac there needs to be one.
      I agree with R2 above.. If I need to quote a book I have in iBooks, but am doing something on the iMac… I’m opening up the iPad and sending the text to my iMac… Pain in the ass.

  7. Come on, let’s shout out loud what everybody knows is the whispered truth here . . .


  8. All the anti Apple dweebs have their panties in a wad over this new initiative because they think the publishing industry and education as we now know it will change overnight. Ain’t gonna happen that way.

    What you’re looking at is another Apple project to create a sea change in a target area. It will take time. It’s another example of the iPod-ization that happened years ago. Apple created a new generation of kids who became iPod-savvy and Apple savvy. We’re still seeing the results of that today with ever increasing market share, product sales and some new product development.

    The entire iBooks phenomenon will take a few years to effectively roll out and create a wide, installed user base. Meanwhile the concept has definitely captured the imagination of lots of people who suddenly feel like getting creative and are looking forward to a new and enjoyable way of teaching and learning things.

    Give Apple a break and give ’em some time. Your patience will be rewarded. JMO.

  9. There is a very simple reason why iBooks 2 is NOT available on a desktop OS: NO (multi)touch screen!

    iBooks 2 App is built on the concept of touch interface. Content that iBooks Author produces is designed to be used exclusively through a touch-based interface.

    When a writer writes an old-fashioned, standard book (you know, just words printed on paper / screen, with possible occasional picture, black and white or colour), touch interface is pretty much irrelevant. However, iBooks Author is designed to encourage writers to write interactive multimedia iBooks that contain stuff that can be touched, pinched, squeezed, slid and moved over, which require interface that is simply impossible to replicate on a desktop computer.

    This is just one more clue about the direction Apple is taking their desktop computing: iOS, mouse-less, keyboardless, multi-touch 27″ iMacs. And no, no “gorilla arm” syndrome will apply; Apple will put these displays the way humans were used to for centuries — flat (or slightly tilted) on your working surface. About the only remaining problem I can see is working out the issues of detecting when touch is a finger touch, and not a hand/arm resting on the surface.

    Mouse is going into the computer history museum soon. So is keyboard (except for serious writers, who will always have those bluetooth ones). We’ll finally again be handling our work directly with our fingers, rather than using an unintuitive, clunky and inconsistent system of mouse, keyboard and display.

    There is no need for desktop iBooks as it simply can’t work without multi-touch screen.

    1. Except that multi-touch *is* available on the desktop and on laptops. All of Apple’s laptops support multi-touch through their built-in trackpads, and doesn’t Apple offer the multi-touch capable Magic Trackpad?

      1. No, it is NOT. Multi-touch TRACKPAD is available on desktops (and laptops). This is just a variation of an existing keyboard-mouse-display concept (from 20th century). It certainly does NOT allow you to TOUCH certain elements of your content directly on the screen. Without that, iBook authored content simply won’t work.

        1. There could quite easily be a workaround (i.e. using a two finger gesture to swipe between pages when the arrow is over the book)

          Think different Predrag. You’re attempting to make it sound impossible.. it’s not impossible and could be done rather easily.

          1. You’re talking about the old-fashioned, 20th-century ebooks (i.e. static text on white background). If you saw Apple’s video about iBooks, there are animations, videos, 3D images that user can zoom into, rotate, swipe in and out of view… All these can ONLY be done with a touch screen, since there is no mouse pointer.

            1. Agreed – its not about page turning anymore, rather the incorporation of rich media and its manipulation BY TOUCH rather than an hovering cursor that tells you where you are. Much the same line of thinking can be used against those who call for iBooks Author output to be viewable/usable on Android machines. It ain’t gonna happen since the same functionality is not common to both platforms.

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