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« Jason Calacanis Shares His Thoughts on Amazon's Dominance | Main | Barnes & Noble: It's Time to Disrupt the Industry! »

January 23, 2012


Kelly Monaghan

Let's say I have written a "book" in Word.

Then I take that text and create a "Work" in iBooks Author.

Then I take that same text and create a "Work" in InDesign, which I subsequently convert into EPUB format.

Have I not created two *separate* "works" in the terms of Apple's contract? Especially if I include one or two interactive features in the iBooks Author version?

As I understand the contract, Apple is only forbidding me to sell what I created (text plus software) in iBooks Author elsewhere, which would be pretty hard to do in any case. The underlying text would seem to me to be a separate entity.

What am I missing here?

Joe Wikert

I think you've accurately described this, Kelly. And that was the point I was trying to make in my original post. Thanks for reinforcing it!

Adam C. Engst

Joe is spot on with what the iBooks Author license agreement says, and the simple fact of the matter is that it doesn't make any difference for people who want to give their books away for free, or for the textbook publishers (who are happy to sell to a captive iPad audience through Apple).

But, Kelly, it is absolutely not true that it would be hard to sell an ebook created with iBooks Author somewhere other than the iBookstore. In fact, it would be easier, since selling through the iBookstore is much harder (and more expensive) than setting up your own ecommerce cart. Existing publishers all have direct sales venues, so Apple is preventing them from selling through their own carts, to their own customers. Remember, if someone buys through the iBookstore, that person is Apple's customer, not yours, and you have no way to communicate with them.

I wrote an extensive article examining the situation from the publisher's perspective:

We also published two other articles about iBooks Author, one pro and one con. See and

The real criticism in my mind is that if Apple feels the need to resort to such legal shenanigans, it implies that they don't think their solutions can compete head-to-head. Which is weird, since there is nothing like iBooks Author right now, and the Kindle Fire doesn't match up to the iPad. So why is Apple running scared?

cheers... -Adam Engst (publisher of the Take Control series of ebooks, which O'Reilly can help distribute for us, because they're not constrained by a license agreement like this)

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