Why the fuss about iBooks Author? Apple’s intent has never been to improve the book publishing industry

“Apple’s recent announcement and release of its iBooks Author tool was met with plenty of controversy,” Joe Wikert writes for O’Reilly Radar.

“My question is simply this: Why all the fuss? Apple’s intent has never been to improve the book publishing industry,” Wikert writes. “Just like Amazon and any other ebook vendor, Apple’s goal is to capture share of this rapidly growing segment. In Apple’s case, it simply decided to offer an authoring tool that’s capable of creating some pretty darned cool products. If Amazon were to do the same thing and create a terrific authoring tool for mobi or KF8 format, would the industry be as upset? I don’t think so.”

Wikert writes, “Apple’s EULA doesn’t really lock you into its distribution channel for your content. That restriction only applies to a “book or other work you generate using [the iBooks Author] software.” All Apple’s really trying to do is prevent you from tweaking the output of its tool to create content for other distribution channels.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Judge Bork” for the heads up.]

14 Comments

      1. It’s in the works already, and it features a tall, dark stranger who audaciously takes over a village, incurring the wrath of many, but later is revealed to be a vital but tender-hearted man of character and learning, secretly yearning for acceptance but unable to overcome his disgust with the simple and stupid views of those around him. Searching for answers, he eventually locates a healer, and…

        Haven’t written the ending yet.

  1. … people miss-reading the EULA! That, or expecting a fully-featured “Pro-Level” app … for free.
    Sure, it would be “nice” if Apple produced that iBook Author Pro program, but it won’t be for free. And Publishing won’t be the only menu item that has been filled out. As for the EULA …

  2. You can export iAuthor material, no problem ….. In either PDF or text format ……

    If you want to take your files developed outside of iAuthor and make a book in with other software, no problem …..

    If you want to export the backend work iAuthor does, well Huston we have a problem …… But then you pay NOTHING for iAuthor so what do ya have to grouch about …..

  3. Apple’s intent has never been to improve the book publishing industry…”

    And you know this how, Joe Wikert?

    Apple will drag the book publishing industry along kicking and screaming if that’s what it takes to change the meme of the text book.

    Think for a minute what a platform like iBook Author means to children’s books, cook books, comics, all of those types of publications that are begging for immersion into a multimedia experience?

    I can’t wait for iBook Author 2.0!

    1. “Apple’s intent has never been to improve the book publishing industry…”

      of course not

      Apple’s intent, instead, is to improve ON the book publishing industry…

  4. Since iBook Author can’t generate a file that can be used outside of Apple software, I have to wonder what is the point of the EULA restriction?

    As I see it, Apple has to be working under the assumption that others (Adobe, Amazon, Google, ??) will develop iBook reader apps that can render iBook Author files on other platforms… and that could be something they may not be able to do anything about.

    I’m not happy about Apple’s can’t sell outside of the iBook Store policy, but I can understand it. IMO, Apple is being shortsighted. What gets me most about all the iBook Author EULA is something that most pundits are ignoring.

    Apple isn’t publishing what their standards of acceptance are… and I wonder why that is?

    How many authors are going to want to invest uncounted hours (days, months) in doing everything (research, etc.) that goes into writing a book… up to and including iBook Author composing… only to have it turned down for publication and not given a reason as to why?… or to have it accepted, only to have it pulled days, weeks or moths later for no given reason?

    I have to read the entire EULA as I’m only going by partial quotes of it I’ve read so far. I think there maybe something it doesn’t cover, and if I’m correct, then there maybe a “loophole” (so to speak) in it.

    If there is, then I can guarantee that Apple is going to revisit the iBook Author EULA soon and rewrite some aspects.

  5. IF YOU WANT TO PUBLISH using iBooks Author, register now on iTunes connect. I spent the last week finalizing my book for iBooks, thinking I could do that one click publishing and now I’m waiting to be approved for the iTunes store. I hope they take me after the effort I put in!

  6. A little perspective., An old style publishing deal would pay you an advance and then only pay you any further returns after costs including editorial, graphic design and production costs typesetting, printing, distribution, marketing, returns, auditing and retail margin had been recouped by the publisher, usually many months or years later and at a rate mostly less than 20% of the net. (unless you are KJ Rowling) They would then delay distribution into wider OS markets or not do it at all, and if they did, repeat the entire process above with lesser margin for the author in those markets, with further intermediaries (subsidiaries) taking their slice, forcing up the cost to the customer and reducing demand. We see this all the time in australia where even apple could not overcome the music monopolies stranglehold and where a single song on iTunes costs AU$1.69 (US$1.80). And even that is cheap compared to the CD in the shop which could cost US$38.50 or more if it was an “import”. We here tend to laugh a lot when we hear US politicians and business leaders talking about “free markets”. It appears that when at the trough “some pigs are more equal than others”.
    At least with AAPL’s model, for the author, the distribution and marketing is global, the margin is signifigantly larger, the money trail is transparent, and the proceeds arrive into your account sooner. This is particularly true with text books where there is little likelyhold of Hollywood optioning your tome on “organic chemistry and structure of polymers” for a movie starring Tom Cruise and Kate Winslet……

    Needless to say it will give millions worldwide access to education material that they never could have afforded under the 19th century model. That alone is worth jumping through a few Apple flavored hoops for…. Big picture please people.

    The Dr?

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