iBooks Author Books Can Only Be Sold Through iBookstore

    January 20, 2012
    Shaylin Clark
    Comments are off for this post.

Apple’s announcement yesterday of iBooks 2, iBooks Author, and iTunes U signaled the company’s desire to revolutionize both the textbook industry in particular and education in general. While reactions to the announcement have been largely positive, some controversy has sprung up concerning iBooks Author. The Mac app is a tool that allows users to produce e-books quickly and easily, and to insert the kind of interactive elements that Apple showed off in their presentation yesterday.

The controversy comes from a provision of the app’s End User License Agreement – that thing that you always click to accept but never actually read. Well, tucked away in iBooks Author’s EULA is a provision that has raised a few eyebrows. Here is the actual quote from the EULA:

If you charge a fee for any book or other work you generate using this software (a “Work”), you may only sell or distribute such Work through Apple (e.g., through the iBookstore) and such distribution will be subject to a separate agreement with Apple.

A later section of the EULA contains the following:

B. Distribution of your Work. As a condition of this License and provided you are in compliance with its terms, your Work may be distributed as follows:
(i) if your Work is provided for free (at no charge), you may distribute the Work by any available means;
(ii) if your Work is provided for a fee (including as part of any subscription-based product or service), you may only distribute the Work through Apple and such distribution is subject to the following limitations and conditions: (a) you will be required to enter into a separate written agreement with Apple (or an Apple affiliate or subsidiary) before any commercial distribution of your Work may take place; and (b) Apple may determine for any reason and in its sole discretion not to select your Work for distribution.

iBooks Author Warning

In other words, books made in iBooks Author can only be sold in the iBookstore, and Apple will require their customary 30% cut. On the one hand, the requirement seems reasonable: iBooks Author is a free tool, and it makes sense for them to want a cut of profits made from a tool they give away. On the other hand, Apple’s attempt to lock down distribution of content created with any software tool is unprecedented. No company that distributes content creation tools – music editing software, word processors, images editors, even other ebook creation tools – restricts what users do with their content after its created.

  • http://Www.awesoftwe.co.za Dylan

    In my opinion this is pretty obvious. The application is called iBooks Author. iBooks is an Apple product for book reading. Its exactely the same as their AppStore, you can only sell your apps through Apple.

    I dont really see anything not obvious here, I mean if the app was called Book Author, or ePub Author, I’d be pissed if I couldnt sell my book anywhere else.l

    I also see this as a good thing, it creates another ecosystem that will end up being really succesfull just like the single appstore, there is only one place you need to go for books. Why search for days through thousands of sites for a specific book? It just seems like a way to make things even easier.

    And as for the 30% money you loose to Apple.. I mean you get advertising, if your book is any good it will be featured. If there is only one store, and your book is featured you get awesome sales. I’d prefer only receiving 70% of $1000, over 100% of $10.

    Just my opinion.