back to article Use iBooks Author, only Apple can ever publish the result

Budding authors attracted to Apple's latest content-creating tool should tread with care lest the small print locks them in tighter than they'd imagined. The End User Licence Agreement, to which users consent by using the software, requires the output of iBooks Author be distributed only through Apple's retail operation - with …


This topic is closed for new posts.


  1. SteveK

    Surely this only applies to the end result and packaging? If I've already written/prepared my textbook and have then imported it into the Apple software and made it all nice and glossy, fine - that particular end result can only be sold via Apple's store, but there's nothing to stop me also turning the text into another format of ebook?


    1. LarsG

      Sounds just like the....

      Contracts from the music industry that Michael Jackson and George Michael were saddled with, oh and anyone signed up with Simon Cowell.

      They want to OWN you!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        In what way is it like the music industry? Here you're free to repackage your content using any other tool.

        Just in case you didn't know, musicians tied to contracts aren't usually allowed to sell their music elsewhere by just repackaging it.

        I do have to agree that the title of the article is a bit misleading, you have to RTFA to really understand what's going on.

      2. Lewis Mettler

        but Apple does nothing to earn their 30% cut

        But Apple does nothing to earn their 30% cut.

        At least in the music industry, they do help develope the material and help market it. Apple promises nothing. And Apple does nothing.

        Making the work available online IS nothing. Or allowing the owner to make it available online IS nothing.

        Apple demands their 30% but refuses to do anything to earn it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Apple created and gives away the authoring tool, iTunes and the iBooks client. In addition Apple provides servers for the downloads, payment processing and sales customer support (even human, not some automated crap)

          If you're not happy with that then build your own stack, or go elsewhere. I use the Inkling stuff for some textbooks, but you'll find out they don't really offer a much better deal.

          If you start comparing things to music labels you'll also quickly find out labels usually take over 80% of sales giving artists as little as 12% (going by figures mentioned in a 2009 USA Today article by Marco R. della Cava)

        2. Jerren


          Sorry Lewis but your way off here.

          Apple is creating the editing software, providing it to you for free in the app store, hosting/distributing the work on the ibooks bookstore and handling all the payment processing. Apple will also promote books in a similar way that the promote apps and songs as "featured content" in the iTunes store.

          Hosting your book online for money IS something, it's a big thing. it cost money to host a web site and hope and pray someone will find and buy your book from it, or money to advertise the site to get people there. Apple is also providing you a way to get paid for your work, Published and protect your content from being distributed outside the official ibook store. (No one's a big fan of DRM until it's YOUR work getting ripped off...) Sure you have a web site you can sell it yourself, but now you have PCI DSS compliance headaches and costs to consider to have your site tested at least once a month and they don't process the cards for free and put the money in your account for nothing. Chances are the Processor and the bank will slap some fees on you for those services since they have to comply with PCI as well. Nor will all users feel comfortable buying your ebook off the internet from your site vrs Amazon or Apple.

          When you add up what it would cost to develop, distribute, protect, and market a multimedia ebook on your own, 30% suddenly dosn't look that bad.

          Mine's the one with the ipad in the pocket...

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

        4. Pat 4

          Except the Music Industry's cut is more like 75% and 100% of the costs of everything come out of the Artists 25%. The music industry takes 0% risk, charge the artist for 100% of their services, and then take 75% off the top... This doesn't even come CLOSE to screwing the author as bad the the standard music industry contract. It doesn't even compare.

          Now that it's out... just don't use the tool... that's all.

    2. Tiny Iota

      Sounds just like...

      ...what was said in the article

    3. Windrose

      OR other.

      "Surely this only applies to the end result and packaging?"

      Indeed. So any .ibook, .epub, or .pdf produced with this software, then. That sounds reasonable, right?

      Since .ibooks are "rich", and the tool is "free", and Apple "only" charge a liiiittle bit, I'm quite convinced we'll see loads of "other works" produced solely for the iPad. Which is great news for the iPad owners, and, actually, quite the same for the rest of us. We'll be able to tell the wheat from the chaff, as is were.

  2. Northern Fop

    *Never* use an application called iPray

    You'll lose your very soul...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple at it's worst

    It's hard to find anything good to say about this, but if you don't like the terms don't use the software. Keep using what you're already using.

    You can distribute the book via iBooks if you wish and then pay apple their cut. You can distribute the same content else where and pay those publishers a cut.

    I wouldn't have thought it would be too hard to repurpose the content. You can export as text or a pdf. The actual output of the software seems to epub3 with added apple.

  4. os2baba

    This would be like Adobe making all photographers or web designers who use Photoshop sell it only via an Adobe store and giving them a 30% cut. Yet another reason to stop using Apple products. Over the years, I have turned from an Apple fan to slowly removing all Apple devices from my house and it's crap like this that's done it. What's happened to them?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "What's happened to them?"

      They realised that they can get away with pretty much anything. Now it's all about the $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ .

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not a fair comparison, Adobe isn't giving Photoshop away for free. Last time I checked it cost quite a bit, as does InDesign which many use to layout books.

      This is a free tool, it's not that surprising that it comes with this condition. Apple have hardly invented this concept (not sure who came up with it first, but I've used free PCB layout tools exclusively tied to PCB fabrication company in the past)

      1. James Hughes 1

        On the other hand, you could use LibreOffice which is free and they don't take cut of your work....easy enough to convert to a eBook format if you wish.

      2. Daniel 4


        I was thinking much the same with the PCB layout tools. However, it looks like a key difference may be just where in the process this limitation is made obvious (the EULA is not obvious). If it is before you can waste any time getting locked in against your will, I don't see the problem here. Unfortunately, it sounds like you find this out after you make your first book? If so, it is a serious problem - though as likely a stupid mistake as a deliberate IP grab, me thinks. We'll see if they correct themselves in a timely manner.


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Daniel 4

          That is a good point and Apple should state this limitation more clearly outside of the "App License Agreement" link in the app's page for those who don't read such things.

          But still I can see how the name "iBooks Author" suggests it's really meant to be for Apple's iBook platform and not general purpose e-book producing tool. In any case it's a simple case of communicating this better to would-be authors and let them decide if they want to use it or not.

      3. Eradicate all BB entrants


        Actually while not a direct comparison it is a fair comparison as since when have Apple started giving away OS X systems for free? If the application was not locked to one OS and given away free then you could understand (even if not agree) the reasons for such a move.

        I would even go as far as saying your comparison is not the fair comparison as you are using it to obtain a product for yourself. Applying that to the iRipoffyourcreativity app, the app would be there for the creation of the content and the physical creation of the published works, delivered to you to distribute through whichever channel you choose.

        So as you have actually had to pay Apple a considerable amount of money in order to be able to use said app the enforced 30% cut is rather greedy.

    3. Fuzz

      Kind of

      Kind of like that, except mostly completely different because last time I checked Adobe didn't give photoshop away for free.

      I don't really see a problem with this license agreement, how else are you going to distribute a format that can only be used on iOS if not through iTunes?

      The problem is for any poor kid whose tutor decides that this is the best way for them to buy textbooks and is therefore forced into owning an iPad when they might already own some kind of other tablet device.

      If an author is going to sell textbooks at $15 a time they don't need to sell many before they can easily afford to pay for a software package like this outright.

      Someone else needs to come into the market with a similar product that uses an html5 approach and can be displayed in the browsers of all the competing hardware. Amazon's kindle web app is an example of how this can be done.

    4. kode
      Big Brother

      It seems there still are plenty of fanbois to vote you down, which is just pathetic and sad.

      I also ditched Apple a few years back, after many years of paying them way too much money for their computers, which weren't worth their price in the end. But it never stops to amaze me how fanbois turn anything Apple does to something good. Truly brainwashed sheep. They give their money smiling to the Big Brother. This new stunt by Apple is just a new one in the series of forcing their customers selling their souls to the company.

    5. jkz99

      "This would be like Adobe making all photographers or web designers who use Photoshop sell it only via an Adobe store".

      Really?? You use Photoshop as an analogy?

      Adobe Photoshop Pro costs money. You have to pay for it.

      So naturally you would not expect a paid-for software to have restriction on what you can do with files you created.

      Apple's iBooks Author is a ***FREE*** program designed for creating and publishing ebooks to the iBooks store.

      Apple does not force you to use iBooks Author. You can use 3rd party tools to create EPUB ebooks to be sold in iBooks store if you want to.

      Please give us your reasons why Apple should provide an excellent and ***FREE*** ebook authoring program so you can create good looking ebooks to be sold on other platforms?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Free for sufficiently trivial definitions of "free". The iBooks shit is far, far more expensive than I would ever consider.

        Fuck Apple, and fuck their "everything belongs to us" philosophy.

        1. John Bailey

          Ahh.. But it's iFree. Which is better.. A special magical type of free, where the least useful context is the free part.

          See also the open nature of h264.

      2. GrumpyBob


        Apple's new iBook Author may be free (as in beer), but it relies on other software, such as Pages and Keynote which are not free.

        The principal issue here is that textbook publishers who wish to make rich content eBooks need to think carefully about the tools they use to ensure that their product reaches the widest audience. Going down the Apple route is dangerous. Personally, I think the best approach is to use an application that generates an eBook format that can be read on any platform.

        On the other hand, I strongly suspect that a 1300+ page graphics rich textbook like Molecular Biology of the Cell is going to exceed the capacity of an iPad. not to mention the impossibility of replacing the experience of leafing through the book. Don't forget that students generally use textbooks as reference, and read them differently than they would a novel.

    6. dssf

      Or, like CAD developers if they were to try to

      Charge dirt cheap, but then locking up the format as a hostage for ransom for each sale.

    7. Harthin

      It would only be like that if Adobe provided all of the software needed for free.

      Apple is a publicly traded corporation whose investors expect growth and profit. They are not a charitable organization and never have been. The chances are that most textbooks will already be in a publish-ready format and will simply be pasted and tweaked into iBooks.

      I don't particularly love Apple, but this step isn't particularly surprising given their history of wanting to control content and profit from it.

  5. jai

    sounds worse than it is in practise?

    as i understand it, the iBooks2 format is ePub3, with extensions to ensure all the whizzy embedded content and stuff work well. And no one else supports that yet, so if i make a book in iBooks Author, then the only platform anyone can read it on is going to be iBooks. And so i makes sense to sell via iBookstore, because that's where the majority of your audience is going to be shopping.

    And also, the app is called iBooks Author, the clue is in the name. It's not iBooks&Kindle Author is it?

    And as everyone has said, this restriction is only to the iBooks2 format file that gets generated. Nothing to stop you producing another copy of your file with a different tool that is purely epub3 compatible and missing the iBooks2 specialsauce.

    1. handle

      As bad if you get trapped

      "And as everyone has said, this restriction is only to the iBooks2 format file that gets generated. Nothing to stop you producing another copy of your file with a different tool that is purely epub3 compatible and missing the iBooks2 specialsauce."

      But I presume this tool is designed to encourage you to type the text into it. In which case, you're bound to Apple by the EULA if you want to sell it:

      "If you charge a fee for any book or other work you generate using this software ... 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."

      You can only get out of that if you create your work with something else and then import it into iBooks Author.

      1. Spiracle

        No, they're referring to the book as a package of text and formatting created using iBook Author. You'll still own the copyright on your text and illustrations but if you package them into ePub3 using iBA and the associated templates, embedded code and fonts which make it look nice (and which presumably Apple retain ownership of) then they're only letting you sell that package through the Apple app store.

        You can still feed your text into another editing tool and sell through another channel, though it'll probably be a pig to get everything looking and working consistently across all platforms as textbooks have much more rich content than the average ebook port of an airport novel. Apple must be hoping that the job of publishing textbook content across more than one platform will be so onerous that publishers will default to iBooks and the rest will be a 'when we get around to it' job.

        Did I read that iBooks has HTML5 support?

    2. Chad H.

      because of course

      Apple should provide a free bit of software to allow you to create stuff for the competition... why?

      1. EyeCU

        I've said it before

        But change Apple for Microsoft and watch the uproar as everybody cries how unfair and anti-competitive it is and Microsoft do give away plenty of different content creation tools for free.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Have you looked at the EULA for the (>£100) Microsoft Office Home edition?

          "The software may not be used for commercial, non-profit, or revenue-generating activities."

          A lot worse than Apple is doing here, yet where was the uproar?

          Here's the link if you don't believe it:

          1. EyeCU

            Entirely different

            Office Home is effectively sold at a discount compared to Professional because of the terms and conditions and Microsoft do not attempt to hide it. That isn't something given away under the pretence of being a company that likes to give extras to its customers for free. As other people have pointed out, the clause in Apples t&c isn't shown to you until AFTER you have created something. If you want to compare like for like then Visual Studio Express is given away for free with no such limitations about how you can distribute what you create or if you can charge for it apart from if you make use of the H.264 codec to comply with the rules set out by MPEG LA.


            Neither do the terms of Movie Maker prevent you from making a profit from your work or restrict your sales channel and that is also software they give away free. Again the only restrictions are those directly related to MPEG LA codec rules. I know Microsoft are part of that consortium but so are Apple. The rules governing the use of MPEG LA codecs have to be agreed on by all members so Microsoft are not in complete control of that. There are other examples of content creation software given away by Microsoft and others (KindleGen by Amazon and Moglue e-book creator for example) that do not have lock-in conditions like those laid down by Apple.

            Apple apologists cannot see the woods for the trees. These mistakes have been made before with Microsoft and look how that turned out. Because of public opinion and pressure Microsoft have been forced to change the way they operate and are no longer the big boogeyman they once were. Why are people so happy to walk into the same trap again but this time with Apple? If pressure is put on them now to play fair then we don't need to end up with another Microsoft.

          2. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

            Well, duh/...

            It says right there on the fecking box that Office H&S is for use, well, by students and people at home. Duh. It even says on the aforementioned fecking box that it's not for commercial blah blah. (Well, it does on the French-language editions, anyway, and it says it on the title bar of the apps when you run them.) And you get a big discount on the price of one OffProf licence, and you get three licences for that one price. And you want to use it for commercial blah blah as if you paid full price?

            Bah. Big fat FAIL for the guy hanging up the modem connection.

  6. SMabille

    All your books are belong to us....

    No alternative bookshelf library for iBook titles then...

    For people saying "You can only use it on iPad so it's not a big deal": It actually is. It prevents Amazon, for example, to start selling books in both Kindle and iBook format (if generated by Apple tool but as the format is closed, Apple is probably the only tool to generate attractive iBooks).

    The only source of (non-free) iBook being Apple is the equivalent of them saying: Your only source of music is iTunes.

    1. Synonymous Howard


      Its still a free market and so publishers are free to develop their own authoring tools and give them away. Don't like Apple's distribution terms, don't use "iBooks Author" and use a free or costly alternative.

      To me what would be more interesting to see if this is limited by an (unenforceable) EULA or is using a DRM mechanism. If its the first then I can see an opportunity for some Open Source software to "strip" any iBooks specific content from the Apple enhanced ePub3 format and even reformat it to remove anything that could be deemed to identify it as "produced using iBooks Author". Apple would then have a big difficulty in proving which format was used to package the content originally, i.e. someone made it in ePub3 format and then imported it in to iBooks Author and added the "extended" content ... or was it the other way around??

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

    About bloody time

    They made write unreasonable EULA a capital offence with the automatic non-appealable death sentance for the entire board.

    This is no more unreasonable than many of the terms and conditions such garbage tends to claim.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing is FREE.

    You forgot the part about Apple's iBookstore charging a yearly fee. See what they're doing here? Free software but restrictive to allowing one to only publish to the iBookstore, however it costs $$$$ to have developer access and the ability to publish through the iBookstore. It's a filtering scam to trap authors into giving up exclusive rights! By now the world should realize there's no such thing as free. There's always a cost even if it's not money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Where did you read this about a yearly fee? I just signed up without one.

      Maybe you imagined it?

      1. Jim in Hayward

        It's a developers fee. You must subscribe to put content into the Apple App store. I think it's $99.00 per year. A consumer does not pay the fee, only the developer that wants to make money off of their IP via the Apple Store. Not a big deal. Tens of thousands of developers have no problem paying $99.00 per year for access to the tens of millions of shoppers using iTMS and Apple App Store.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Xcode lock-in

    Quote: "Apple provides the Xcode toolkit for free and makes no restriction on the distribution of OS X applications created using it, but one can't help thinking that it's only a matter of time until that happens."

    Impossible. For one, the major components of Xcode are open source - Xcode is simply a front-end for the tools.

    Secondly, and more importantly, a vast amount of development done with Xcode isn't relevant to the App store (mobile or otherwise), e.g. device drivers, plugins, tools, etc, etc. Apple has made it abundantly clear that iOS and Mac OS are designed for different purposes, and even the Mac OS has different audiences in mind, i.e. professional vs consumer. Quite simply, Apple won't have anything to deliver to consumers if it loses the professionals. Anyone who thinks Apple doesn't know that is frankly naive. Put another way, can you imagine that Apple's plan is to entrust development for all Mac/iPhone content to MS Windows? Not a chance.

    IMO the restriction on the output from the iBooks Author software reflects the immaturity of the whole eBook market, e.g. weak (but developing) format standards, wildly differing hardware, and generally rubbish distribution. Apple is trying to carve out an entire, coherent ecosystem for the creation, sales, and consumption of eBooks that 'just works', and so the parts are necessarily bound together. Outside of the iPad, there isn't much of an alternative for viewing these documents anyway (not consistently at least). The publishing industry, like the music industry, has tried to avoid the digital revolution rather than embracing it. And in doing so, they leave a huge, gaping opportunity for a company like Apple to define how it works.

  10. Charles-A Rovira

    Pointless non-argument and link bait.

    Apple has more stringent antivirus standards. You can't fault them for that.

    The reader app is free. The creator/writer app is free.

    The content is free or nearly free.

    You can get your content, from a Word file say, and import it into an iBook2 file, generate the iBook2, publish the iBook2 for the iPad.

    Apple makes no claim of ownership of your content and you can use the same content to publish it on a Kindle or a Nook or on CR-Rom or on paper.

    You can use Kindle™ app for the iPad to get the Amazon version of the content.

    You can use various PDF reader apps to get more generic versions of the content.

    Its exactly the same as having to use Microsoft's Word program to read/write Microsoft' Word file format despite all of its drawbacks as opposed to SGML format.

    1. nsld
      Paris Hilton

      you sure?

      The wording in the article seems to say that if you generate something from the software you can only sell it through apple, this reads as an exclusivity and that you cannot publish the same material on other sites/stores for sale so it looks like they are claiming a sole distribution right.

      As a sidenote you can create .doc and .docx files in other packages apart from MSword

      Paris, she is a sucker as well

      1. SMabille


        Apple get the distribution exclusivity of the resulting file. So no you can't sell the resulting iBook via other distribution methods but the content itself is still yours, so you can sell it via other channels in any other formats (PDF, Kindle, etc....) but as Apple push for more polished content with background, graphics, interactivity etc the efforts required to transpose to several platforms increase.

        So Apple strategy is to offer a tool that make creation easy and hope you'll give up 30% of sales in return to fast, effective production and distribution.

  11. Toby 10

    This is a bit like the Kindle AZW format then is it not?

    You create the content, format it for a particular market (Kindle or iBooks) and then sell it via that market.

    No textbook publishing company (which I don't feel as inclined as others to feel so sorry for) is going to write a whole textbook in Apple's free tool - they're going to author everything elsewhere and then use the tool to format it for iBooks. When other tools catch up (epub 3) then they can reuse the content and format it for other markets.

  12. Volker Hett

    iBook Author is for iPads only

    So I don't see big problems as long as I can repackage my works with another tool for another platform.

    On the other hand, iBook Author and iBook 2 on iPad can do things ePub can't, it is tempting.

    1. Red_Five

      But is repackaging an option? Does this restriction apply only to the distribution of the resulting ebook file, or to the distribution of the creative work that the ebook file represents?

      Reading the quoted passage from the EULA, to me it sounds like any eBook packaged via Apple's software can only be sold via Apple. That eBook cannot be repackaged from the original source text/files/fdata using different tools for sale via another channel. Apple therefore claims exclusivity for the textbook completely.

      Of course, if you are giving your work away, then it looks like the exclusivity condition doesn't apply.

      Or am I reading it wrong?

      1. Jim in Hayward

        You are reading it wrong.


This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019