[credit provider=”Associated Press”]
In addition to announcing new textbooks for iPad, Apple also released a new free Mac App that lets you create and publish your own books for sale in the iBooks store. It’s called iBooks Author.It seems like a neat tool. Until you read the user agreement.
Dan Wineman pointed out on his blog that Apple’s End User licence Agreement (EULA) states that books made with the iBook Author app and sold through the iBook store can’t be sold anywhere else.
However, if you offer your book for free in the iBooks store, then you can distribute it for free anywhere else you want.
Here’s the paragraph from the iBooks Author EULA. I took this screen grab from the Mac App Store:
Why is this such a big deal? Wineman provided the best analogy for Apple’s decision to control how you sell books made with its app:
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.
Scary stuff. And you know it’s really, really bad when John Gruber smashes Apple for the decision:
This is Apple at its worst. Let’s hope this just the work of an overzealous lawyer, and not their actual intention.
So Apple is providing you with a free tool that will help you sell your work through their own store. But even though it’s your creation, Apple claims ownership over it simply because you used its app to make it.
This also ties into Jay’s point that not everyone wants to be stuck in Apple’s world. It’s in an author’s best interest to sell work on as many platforms as possible. For example, Amazon makes it very easy to self publish through Kindle. But if you make your book using iBook Author and sell through iBooks first, you’re stuck in Apple’s ecosystem and missing the opportunity to reach out to millions of others using non-Apple devices. (Kindle is available on just about every major smartphone and tablet.)
And what if you want out of Apple’s system? It looks like you need to somehow get in touch with the company and work out a separate agreement. Good luck with that.