Apple Updates Controversial iBooks Author License Agreement

    February 3, 2012

When Apple released their new e-book creation tool, iBooks Author, last month there was an initial rush of enthusiasm. After all, quality e-book creation tools are rare, especially at the price Apple charged – free. Almost immediately, though, there was controversy. It seems that tucked away in the iBooks Author end user license agreement was a provision stating that books made in iBooks Author could only be sold through Apple’s own iBookstore. Users could give books away in whatever venue they wanted, but if the books were going to be sold, they had to be sold through Apple (complete with Apple’s standard 30% cut).

Today, Apple has released iBooks Author 1.01. It looks like the only change to the app is the EULA, which has been amended to clarify exactly what rights Apple does and does not claim over books created with iBooks Author. The big point Apple clarifies in the new EULA is that they are not claiming any rights or ownership of the content of books created in iBooks Author. That is, when you make an e-book in the .ibook format, Apple requires that you sell the book through their store, but they do not claim any ownership over the content of the book itself. They only claim to restrict the venue in which you can sell the book.

The new EULA also emphasizes that the iBookstore restriction only applies to .ibook files. That is, if you use iBooks Author to create a file in another format (PDF and .txt files are supported), you can sell it wherever or however you like. Only the .ibook format is restricted. Which makes sense, really, since iBooks is the only software application that will read .ibook files anyway.