Apple Made Its Decision. My Turn.

Rotten Apple
Rotten Apple
Apple rejected How To Think Sideways Lesson 6: How To Discover (Or Create) Your Story’s Market.

Not because of links to Amazon this time.

Because of content.

Lesson 6 includes my “Amazon River” technique, in which I show students how I use a couple of useful bits of Amazon’s website software and the Amazon database to figure out how to find alternative genres for their books if they aren’t having any luck selling it in the genre they wrote it for. I’ve successfully used this technique to place both TALYN and MIDNIGHT RAIN.

This is not just essential information for writers publishing or hoping to publish commercially—it’s also the fastest way for self-pubbers to find potential new markets for their existing work.

And there is no other website in the world on which you can do this as quickly, as completely, or as successfully.

So now it’s down to me.

I cannot sell PART of the course on Apple. So How To Think Sideways will not appear on the iBookstore. Neither will How To Revise Your Novel.

But I also will not deal with this sort of head-up-ass behavior from a distributor. You don’t tell someone “The problem is the live links,” and then, when that person has complied with your change request and removed the live links, turn around and say, “No, no. The problem is the CONTENT. You can’t mention Amazon in your lesson.

This is not professional behavior from a professional market.

And cold moment of truth here—you cannot write a writing course that includes information on publishing and self-publishing and NOT mention Amazon. It’s the place where your writers are going to make about 90% of their money.

So I’m pulling ALL my work from the iBookstore today. I apologize to iBookstore fans. I tried. Hard.

But I’m done.

Previous Posts in This Discussion

Same morning, three hours later…

All my self-pubbed books are now out of the iBook store. The work by me that is still there is commercially published, and I cannot do anything about its presence or absence.

But, for writers, especially those involved in or considering self-publishing, I can no longer recommend Apple as a professional distributor. Requiring no links to a competing website was borderline…but I complied because I wanted to keep the courses available for students who could not get them any other way.

Requiring the removal of actual lesson content, however, is unacceptable. No, it isn’t censorship. Again, only governments have the armies that allow them to censor.

It is simply an unbelievably stupid business decision, since the people buying the lesson would have to pay for it BEFORE they read the content, and would not abandon Apple because of the content.

The big markets that meet my standards for good distribution practices for self-publishers are now down to and Barnes&

I don’t yet have anything up on, so cannot yet report on the quality of service of the site. It does have an interesting “Pay on Demand” feature that kicks in once you’ve hit their sales threshold.

I’m backlogged getting lessons set up on my own site, Amazon, and B&N, but will start testing once I catch my breath.

I’m deeply disappointed by the loss of Apple as a viable market. I know a lot of folks hate the company. I loved it, though—and recent decisions on this issue as well as the issue of sandboxing in the next OS make me realize it’s working hard at making itself a company I won’t be able to support.

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204 responses to “Apple Made Its Decision. My Turn.”

  1. Thom Hurliman Avatar
    Thom Hurliman

    This is not surprising. Apple was once a cool company, but that is many years back. Now they are just arrogant. They do what all too-big companies do, they try to dominate their customers. I was once a big fan, but since they refuse to produce all-in-one-computers without glossy screens (which is in high demand from all creative users), I have seen the lights go out on Apple. Soon after that came the success with the iphone and the iTunes nightmare it brought over us. Followed by the control-freak attitude on content in their stores. Now they try to change Mac OS X into a closed, controlled system like iOS. I say: People, go Linux!

    1. Holly Avatar


    2. kadajawi Avatar

      Creative people and Linux? Not sure that works, due to the lack of software. If it does, good for you, if not there is still Windows.

      Otherwise I agree. Apple was cool and good, now they make everything Microsoft ever did pale in comparison.

      1. Pete Avatar

        What “lack of software”? There has been a huge push to create the basic toolbox of productivity/workstation applications that you find on Mac and Windows. The biggest gap remains on the gaming front and, now that Steam is pushing to cover that, we might see some tightening up there, too.

        Full disclosure: I keep a Windows workstation around because of two things … Outlook (not many great and polished alternatives to it when you’re Exchange-based), and gaming.

        But on the productivity front, Linux is no longer a “Geeks Only” operating system. Breaking out of our comfort zones and looking at what Linux can do _today_, rather than regurgitating old war stories, more and more people might find their horizons expanded, their wallets unmolested, and that they’ve got dimples.

  2. SourGnome Avatar

    Did you escalate this? It just seems like a lower level staffer is misinterpreting a policy or flat out doesn’t understand. How is this title on their “shelf” when your book isn’t allowed?

    “How To Self Publish On Amazon, Kindle And iBookStore”

    1. Holly Avatar

      No, I didn’t escalate. Just getting them to answer their damn email takes about a week.

      In contrast, if you have a problem with your book on Amazon, you go to their producer contact page, you click the button that sets up an instant phone call, and you’re talking to a live person who CAN FIX your problem in under 30 seconds.

      1. Tim King Avatar

        Damn. Where’s the “Like” button? Ermm… 🙂

  3. Ian Wood Avatar

    I’m using Apple’s iTunes Producer platform for a small publishing venture, at this point strictly as a “cover all our bases” strategy. I deal with Amazon (e-book and POD), Barnes and Noble (e-book), and Apple, as among other venues (including my own).

    Apple’s support has been horrible: ineffective and obtuse. Their publishing platform is opaque and user hostile, and when errors inevitably occur, both the error messages and the support staff charged with interpreting them are singularly unhelpful.

    It’s really very simple. Amazon has this sort of thing figured out, and so does any place (like, say Smashwords) that gives even the slightest of shits about independent publishers and authors. Even Barnes and Noble, while having
    absolutely no frills at all and not much in the way of support for its PubIt! service, doesn’t give off the “go away and don’t bother us” vibe that Apple does.

    It’s simple: act like you might want your customers’ business. And don’t be a huge corporate fuckface.

    Holly, I think you just did what you were expected to eventually do.

    1. Holly Lisle Avatar
      Holly Lisle


  4. Duncan Bayne Avatar

    Congrats on pulling your content from the Apple ecosystem. Too many people keep whinging about Apple’s behaviour towards customers, and also keep using their products. It’s nice to see someone complain, then do something about it 🙂

    1. Holly Avatar


  5. Veritas Avatar

    Interestingly, in a synchronous way, yesterday here (Australia) there was an article quoting the Apple CEO as admitting that Apple was losing ground. This was because it had most of its eggs in one basket (the iPhone basket). It stands to lose even more if the new iPhone is not just a success, but a barnstorming success. Samsung is beating the hell out of them with their new Galaxy 3 phone and the new (Google branded) Nexus 7 from Asus is threatening their yet to be released 7″ iPad range.

    Maybe Apple, like BlackBerry, with their mix of arrogance and complacency, has let the market overtake it. (Or over-run it.)

    1. Holly Lisle Avatar
      Holly Lisle

      As I noted elsewhere, Apple mistook earning market share with owning market share.

      IBM made the same mistake when it ignored the potential of the PC.

      Commercial (paper-based) publishing is making the same mistake, first in trying to force readers to buy print books by bringing out ebook versions late and priced very high, and second by treating their content creators like crap.

      Apple is pursuing the same path by trying to force customers to buy only through its access (admittedly this is my projection of their intent where OS X is concerned), and second, by treating its content producers like crap.

      Of the three, I think Apple’s actions are going to have the quickest effect on its bottom line, because access to content and content available are directly linked. The links with IBM and commercial publishing are indirect.

      You can draw a straight line, though, from let’s make it painfully difficult for producers to create stuff our platform through users can ONLY buy what we offer on our platform to people are leaving because they can’t get what they want from our platform.

      Just ask Sony (the direct correlation to what Apple is doing) whose original Playstation had damn near everything, whose next-gen Playstation had to wait forever for new games because it was so hard to program for (and had such restrictive royalties) to the new handheld Vita. Around which the crickets are chirping.

  6. Eda Avatar

    Guess what? I just bought courses 6-21 3 minutes ago, and I can still read them on my iPad. Good job taking Apple off. Not having the books in the iBooks store is not stopping me.

    Even IF – by some miracle – they’d disable the .epub file on iBooks. You could still read PDF files on the iPad.

    Keep up the good work, Holly. One of the reasons I adore you as a writer is because of your attitude.

    1. Holly Avatar

      First, thank you for buying my lessons. I really appreciate it.

      Second, I’m delighted they work. 😀

    2. George Dinwiddie Avatar

      FWIW, there are other epub readers for the iPad besides iBooks, too.

  7. Shawna Avatar

    And just in case part of the reason anyone is still on Macs is Scrivener and they hadn’t noticed… Scrivener is available on Windows, now. Thank goodness. And I’m loving it.

    And I haven’t had an ounce of trouble with my much cheaper Win 7 computer – and I’m not throwing money at the Selfish Dictator that has become of the company I used to love – at least, I loved way back in the early 90s before it became the monster it used to fight against.

  8. MyTricksterGod Avatar

    No, no, We NEED to wage a holly war against apple, no bones about it! Guns blazing and all that Sh!t!
    Email your networks, optimize your facebook ads, we gotta take this to the TOP; I’ve waited for this moment my entire writing career: Apple feel my wrath!

    Let us wage a great war and call it the battle for lesson 6!

    1. Lee Avatar

      Hee hee. Sounds like a Firefly ep, The Battle for Lesson Six, complete with theme song:

      “You can’t take Lesson Six from me…”


  9. Texanne Avatar

    Wow. How can I get the torch-and-pitchfork concession for this party? :)TX

  10. pcake Avatar

    I’ve enjoyed your fantasy books for years, but now I’m also proud to be one of your readers. A good decision presented rationally.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you.

  11. Pat Avatar

    May I suggest that you try as well for publishing? You can publish on both digital and physical formats on major online book distributors, and it is on a, as you say, “pay on demand” feature.

    1. Holly Avatar

      I like Lulu. I recommend them. I no longer use them because their print book costs run significantly higher for my readers than those from CreateSpace.

      And while I was with them, I didn’t like the way they did ebooks. So I never put my ebooks there.

  12. BT Avatar

    “No, it isn’t censorship. Again, only governments have the armies that allow them to censor.”

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for that. As well as your other posts in the comments about this not being a constitutional issue.

    I’ve had far too many arguments with people attempting to frame heavy-handed corporate tactics like this as 1st amendment violations. It’s refreshing to see someone treat it as what it is and no more, because “what it is” is already bad enough.

    1. Holly Avatar

      You’re welcome. Making that point is important to me.

    2. John Miles Avatar
      John Miles

      “Any sufficiently dominant corporation is indistinguishable from a government.” — Me

      1. Holly Avatar

        Really? Can any sufficiently dominant company send soldiers to your house to remove you in the middle of the night and lock you away for the rest of your life?

        At the point where companies CAN do that, companies ARE the government.

        At the moment, on the other hand, they’re using and misusing the legal system, pull, and government corruption to tilt what the government has that they don’t (the power of force) in their direction.

        1. Ron Avatar

          The RIAA/MPAA convinced the FBI to fly to a foreign country and do something similar…

          1. Holly Avatar

            Pull and corruption. My point exactly.

        2. Thanatos Avatar


          A while back, Apple DID send its corporate security goons to someone’s home posing as actual police. They threatened the occupant with an immigration violation to gain entry to his home and conducted an illegal search for a missing iPhone prototype, which they never found. After the media brought these reports to light, the head of Apple corporate security was forced to resign.

          So while you may be correct that most major corporations do not possess an actual military or powers of arrest, that doesn’t stop some of them (Apple included) from acting like they do.

          1. Holly Avatar

            Companies and the personnel who carry out these criminal tactics can be charged with their crimes and jailed.

            When the government does it, it’s NOT A CRIME.

        3. Zandr Avatar

          They are getting very close. Apple’s assistance from the police with regards to lost/stolen iPhone prototypes left the lines between Apple and the cops very, very blurry.

        4. Justin Avatar

          An American company pushed for the arrests of Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, Peter Sunde, and Carl Lundström… in Sweden:

        5. Nate Godin Avatar
          Nate Godin

          The hypothetical scenario you describe actually isn’t that far from the truth if you look at the questionable things Apple has done to recover missing iPhone prototypes:

        6. ChristianK Avatar

          There are companies who do have the standing armies that they would need to do something like this.
          The US doesn’t forbid private armies the way ancient Rome did.
          The US even encourages private armies by hiring them as defense contractors.

          In the US most companies wouldn’t dare to simply come to someone’s house and remove them in the middle of the night. When big international corporations operate in third world nations they however do.

    3. ChristianK Avatar

      The key question is: “Does Apple have the responsibility for the books that they publish?”

      If yes, it should be possible to sue them when they publish a book that defames someone.
      If no, they shouldn’t be able to deny a book based on it’s content being about Amazon.

      The status of Apple is a legal question and I doubt that Apple can win on both counts over the long run.

  13. Maya Avatar

    I am surprised that worldly woman like you is surprised by their exclusivity.

    Bluetooth on Apple devices only works with other iStuff. If you unlock a device and then upgrade the software; which the device will try spontaneously; Apple HQ bricks the device.

    Laptops have frail screws so the user can’t open them and adapt or fix things by them selves. If you break a screw with a regular screwdriver the shop knows you’ve tampered with it and lose warranty.

    iTunes don’t sell apps which compete with in-house software even though they’d profit from it.

    The list goes on. And the choice to change connectors; making own devices *physically *incompatible; is just insane.

    If it doesn’t use industry standards; if it’s patent crazy and litigious; if it works more on harming rivals than attracting users; if it blocks or punishes user adaptation – it probably sucks.

    Unfortunately, for all their great sides, Apple is all of the above.

    1. Holly Avatar

      I have no trouble using Apple Bluetooth on third party devices.

      The laptops are sturdy buggers, and so are the screws. I’ve had no problems with them, ever.

      Their closed stores are a PROBLEM, I agree, and that’s part of what this series of posts has been pointing out.

      So you don’t actually have a list. You have one point, and it’s the same point I’ve already made.

      1. Jean Avatar

        I can attest to no troubles with third party devices and Apple Bluetooth. My Logitech Bluetooth Mouse is working great with my Air right now, as does my Bluetooth connection on my HP printer. I agree the Air is sturdy. I’m not thrilled that I can’t do upgrades on laptops, but laptops are notoriously difficult to update no matter who makes them. has been a tremendous resource for upgrades and repairs on my Mac Mini and my 3rd generation iPod.

        1. Holly Avatar


          Same here. I’ve never had a problem using Bluetooth with anything.

          My stuff has (with the exception of one wonky screen that Apple replaced promptly under my Apple Care warranty) never had to do any repairs. I’ve had to open cases to do upgrades.

          But I’ve been aware of for quite a few years.

        2. Jean Avatar

          I’ll add, repairs is a nebulous term. I replaced the battery in my 10 year old iPod. Everything else has been upgrades. Alas, I’ve upgraded the Mini as much as I can, and I’m not anxious to buy the new one, because I’m not ready to give up my built-in Superdrive. Yes, I know they’ll be dead and gone in 3 years, but I’m just not ready yet.

        3. kadajawi Avatar

          The Mac Mini was a … to upgrade though, but that can be attributed to the size. The 2009 white MacBook was designed to be easy to upgrade, within limits of course. My slightly older Dell was designed to be completely user repairable, they even published ifixit style guides. However new Apple devices, especially the retina MBP are impossible to upgrade or fixed, they were designed to be not fixable.

      2. Maya Avatar


        iPhone Bluetooth issues, via iDownloadBlog, from this February:
        “The ability to transfer files from iOS to other devices via Bluetooth is a glaring omission from Apple’s mobile products.”

        Apple removing rival apps, via Guardian:
        “A Cambridge company whose Evi app can do many of the same functions as Apple’s voice-operated Siri system has been warned that it will be removed from the App Store … App Store’s terms and conditions ban apps that appear confusingly similar to an existing Apple product.”

        Apple’s history of locking out users from their own devices with non-standard screwdrivers (not screws, appologies), via Technology Tell:
        “Apple has made that customarily simple task difficult by its employment of screws with non-standard heads … anti-user internal access roadblocks are nothing new for Apple … Apple for years insisted on Torx T8 fasteners … T8 size is not usually found in typical Torx sets and can be hard to find”
        And Slashdot: “‘If you take your iPhone 4 into Apple for service, they will replace your Phillips screws with the new, tamper-resistant screws.”

        Apple absurdly vague patent restrictions:

        And aggressive, baseless litigiousness, via Cnet:
        “British Judge has ordered Apple to post newspaper adverts both apologizing to Samsung and admitting that the Korean company did not copy the iPad. The apology must stay on Apple’s website for the next six months.”

        1. Holly Avatar

          I’m not disagreeing with you on this rash of litigiousness, which I find disgusting.

          Or their “walled garden” approach to selling third-party products — including software — which is part of what this whole topic has been about.

          But if you buy a foreign car, you buy the tools to work on it. Or you take it to someone with the tools. If you by a computer and intend to work on it yourself, you buy the tools. Or you take it to someone who has them. Know what you’re buying when you buy it, or don’t buy it.

          It’s when you buy one thing, and end up with something entirely different (the rule change with the e-book, the new OS-X-like-iOS direction of the company) that I have a problem.

          1. Mary Branscombe Avatar
            Mary Branscombe

            Apple is making new machines less repairable; soldering memory onto the motherboard, custom connectors for the solid state drive. There are reasons to do this, but the hardware direction is towards less open. The Apple dock for iPhone and iPad is proprietary and you have to pay to licence it. Apple’s approach is closed; that’s not criticism, it allows them to protect quality, but it’s good to be aware that they’re not going to be the most open, interoperable hardware in every situation.

            Long-time reader & fan; technology journalist with a new book; first-time commenter!

    2. Veritas Avatar

      I think that much of the problem here is a degree of computer naivety. Apple Bluetooth is no different to any other Bluetooth device – they all meet the same standard. Apple and many other companies try to limit “fiddling” by amateurs, which you clearly are – by using a proprietary screw head. You can buy the correct tool on eBay for just a couple of dollars. Apple products are well designed and well built and the fuss over the supposed new connector will be solved by a simple adaptor. Do you really think that Apple is too dumb to think of that?
      The attitude and anti-competitive moves by Apple are a pain, and something that might well come back to bite them. Your list is mostly imaginary.

      1. Holly Avatar

        Thank you for adding this.

    3. Gary Townsend Avatar
      Gary Townsend

      Maya, I don’t quite understand your statement regarding laptop screws. Are you talking about Apple’s laptops? I ask because a couple of months ago I upgraded the memory on my MacBook Pro, taking it from 4GB to 8GB. I plan to upgrade my MacBook’s hard drive soon, too.

      BTW, I’m not very happy with the way Apple has become of late, either. They’re now reminding me more of MicroSoft, actually.

      1. Holly Avatar

        Hi, Gary,

        I accidentally deleted your question about why I haven’t upgraded to Mountain Lion.

        I put my reasoning into this reply: Answer to an earlier question about sandboxing.

  14. Lee Avatar

    I agree with your decision completely. It was my decision years ago to break all ties to APPLE and their products due to their Attitude. I loved their products, but I simply refuse to buy them and won’t ever again. Very poor Policies fringing on our Constitutional Right of FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

    1. Holly Avatar

      ARGH! No, this does not go anywhere NEAR being a Constitutional issue, and it doesn’t go anywhere NEAR concerning Freedom of Speech. The Constitution limits the power of GOVERNMENT to limit freedom of speech, because if Government does it, Government has the army that can come to your house and kill you if you disobey. Government can stick you in jail, or can dump you in a concentration camp, or can murder all your friends and relatives.

      Apple? Apple can tell you, “No, we don’t want your book.” To which you can say, “Fine. Amazon does.” And go make money and say whatever-the-hell you wanted to say there.

      1. Susan Avatar

        Holly, I like the way you think. Rational. Honest. You stick by your guns without forcing others at gunpoint.


        1. Holly Avatar

          😀 Thank you.

      2. Gary Townsend Avatar
        Gary Townsend

        That’s exactly right. The Constitution’s sole purpose is to put limitations on the government, not upon us.

        When the owners of an Internet forum place restrictions upon what can and cannot be said in their forum, they are not violating anyone’s rights. They also have the freedom to place restrictions upon who does and does not have access to their forums. That second point is similar to the idea that the owner of a brick-and-mortar store owner has the right to refuse to serve whomever they don’t want to serve. When you enter someone else’s business (online or not), you have to play by their rules.

    2. Badunk Avatar

      @Lee “Constitutional Right of FREEDOM OF SPEECH.”

      NO. Your understanding of ‘freedom of speech’ is based upon ignorance, sorry. Either you have never read the US Constitution’s first amendment or you did not understand it.

      The text begins: “Congress shall make no law…”

      Apple is not Congress and thus cannot make laws, therefore the first amendment does not apply.

  15. Lee Avatar

    Apple, shnapple. It’s attitudes like this, forcing clients out the door, that keeps Apple from actually being the giant they imagine they are. Don’t get me wrong, I love their products. I’ve got a MacBook Air, a MacBook Pro, an iPod and an iPad. I own a Kindle but I read almost all of my books on the Kindle app for iPad. I use iBooks and the iBookstore almost never. They can’t compete with Amazon and to try to punish those who choose Amazon is ridiculous in the extreme. Definitely shooting themselves in their collective foot.

    Well, it’s their loss, Holly. You’ll more than make up for it with the oodles of sales elsewhere. Especially on Amazon. So take that, Apple! 🙂

    1. Lee Avatar

      You do realize, of course, that I’m referring to Apple’s attitude and not yours, right, Holly? They are shooting themselves in the foot. I think you’re attitude is RIGHT ON! 😀

  16. C Avatar

    Holly, you did the right thing. Apple is a horrible company. Their products are so overpriced it is literally, and I do mean literally, obscene. I would never buy any Apple product or service ever. They are just ridiculous.

    1. Holly Avatar

      No, Apple products are actually not overpriced at all. I have all seven Apple computers that I have ever owned, going back fifteen years. ALL of them work. Apple software is so well-integrated that IN those fifteen years, I lost about 300 words of my writing ONCE, fifteen years ago, when Microsoft Word (which was its usual pile of shit back then too) crashed, and I failed to realize that the little SAVE message that popped up was offering to save the chapter I was writing.

      Prior to that, I’d been writing on Windows machines routinely, and having them crash routinely, and having them eat paragraphs and pages and chapters of my work ROUTINELY. Know how many times I’ve had an Apple computer crash in the last fifteen years.

      ZERO. You get what you pay for.

      Which doesn’t mean I won’t find some other way to do this if they screw around with my computer OS and try to bring it into their damned Walled Garden. Which is why I have not upgraded to Mountain Lion…and why I probably won’t.

      1. Sean Avatar

        You’re lucky. I’ve had a friend who’s Apple computers have crashed, and I fixed it for them. I was lucky since I hadn’t worked on one before.

        Some years ago, PC Magazine Columnist, John Dvorak, removed all the malware from his PC, programs he hadn’t installed, but were installed in the background for him. The first thing he noticed was it’s increased speed and stability. This led him to conclude that bad programming was the downfall of the PC, any yahoo with a C compiler and an O’Reily how-to book can create a bad program, then get someone to secretly bundle it into another program. Of course when a PC computer crashed, what’s the first thing you’re going to see, the MS logo, so who are you going to blame?

        That is the benefit of Apple’s walled garden, no cowboy programmers, no bad programs. But this weakness in the PC is also it’s strength, anyone can write a program to do anything, because chances are, if you need it to do something, then someone else does. If Apple doesn’t want to make it, then you don’t get it.

        1. Holly Avatar

          I’ve been lucky with my machines. But right now there are TONS of software producers producing unapproved software for Macs. They’re selling from their own sites, and I’m buying direct from them.

 (which has a sandboxed version of Scrivener in the walled garden) started out with and has always maintained its own unhobbled version on its site. First for Apple, now for Windows too.

          There are thousands of other indie software makers who have maintained their products OFF of Apple’s site, and those are my preferred products to buy.

          But Apple hasn’t pulled off its walled garden yet. There are plenty of bad programs, and at least a few cowboy programmers, and anyone can write programs for OS X, too.

          They just need to be comfortable with Unix.

          But therein lies the difference.

          OS X is an overlay of UNIX, and UNIX is well-designed software built around the concept of keeping individual programs out of Admin… which is why OS X isn’t buggy as shit. And Linux software can still be made to run on it. If necessary, since I’m now committed to the current OS and the current not-poisoned-by-Mountain-Lion computer until Apple comes its senses and ditches the “Walled Garden Approach” or this machine dies, I may end up running Linux stuff on it.

          1. Lee Avatar

            Since you mentioned Scrivener, the main reason I switched to Mac in the first place, I just wanted to quickly say that I had a NaNoWriMo discount version on the MacBook Air and also, to support L&L, bought another copy from the Mac App Store for the MacBook Pro (Snow Leopard on both machines, btw). A couple of days ago I removed the app store version and put the direct-from-site version on the Pro so I could have the same updated version on both machines. The app store money wasn’t wasted because I learned a valuable lesson. And Scrivener is a steal even if I’d paid double the price both times.

            Back to topic: I’m sorry you had to close off an avenue of revenue for yourself, Holly. But your reasoning is very, well, reasonable. Apple’s, not so much. But there’s always hope. Maybe the short-sighted ones will begin to see. Or maybe they’ll see pink slips as the company’s profit slips…

            1. Lee Avatar

              I think I forgot to say why I pulled the app store version off the Pro. (Sorry, lightning knocked power off here while I was posting my comment and derailed my train of thought, too.) I pulled it because Scrivener had an update available for direct clients but there was a…situation…with the app store. So, because I am such a patient person, I waited a couple of days and then yanked the dadburn app store version off and slapped the direct version on.

              Sorry I didn’t make that clear in the earlier comment. Having my dog climb on top of me to sit on my head during a thunderstorm is a tad distracting. 😉

              1. Holly Avatar

                I talked with the guy who does Scrivener while this was going on. I’d dumped my own Apple Store version of Scrivener to revert to my full version direct from the Scrivener site.

                I’m also finding the site versions of all App Store software that I use for work, and removing the App store versions, and getting replacement versions direct from the creators’ sites where available.

                I don’t mind getting my games from the App and Apple stores, because I enjoy games, but they don’t affect my life.

                Work software, however, is a completely different issue.

      2. Gary Townsend Avatar
        Gary Townsend

        My experience has been exactly the same, Holly. Although at work I have to use PCs and UNIX boxes (I’ve worked in cellular switching and cellular NOCs since the 80s), at home I’ve always used Apple computers. My first was an Apple IIe, which I bought just months before Apple introduced the first Macintosh. Including that IIe and my current PowerBook, I have owned a total of eight(!) computers made by Apple. Every single one of them was still working, without any problems, when I chose to upgrade. (I was living in California when I bought my first Macintosh, a Performa 450. The Apple IIe that it replaced was given to a company that was providing computers to local schools at the time.)

        The only problems I ever had with any of my Macs were all minor software problems back during the days of System 7 and System 8 (extension conflicts, essentially), and I was able to solve those easily myself, simply by changing the order in which extensions loaded.

        The only Apple I’ve ever had a hardware issue with is my current 2010 PowerBook. The display inexplicably stopped working one day, so I took in to the local Apple store. Turned out that there was some strange corrosion on the motherboard. They fixed it and it cost me nothing, because I had purchased the extended warranty. The only other “problem” I’ve had has been with the paint of the letters on a couple of keyboards wearing off.

        If it’s not drifting too far off topic, I am curious, why you haven’t upgraded to Mountain Lion? I haven’t either. I’m still running Snow Leopard (10.6.8), in fact.

        1. Gary Townsend Avatar
          Gary Townsend

          Never mind about my question, Holly. I just found your response where you address that. I’ve been reading through these comments from top to bottom and just now came upon it.

          1. Holly Avatar

            Ah. HERE it is. Saw this in the interface, and thought it was in relation to why I wasn’t using Kobo.

            So I guess I DIDN’T delete it.

  17. Charity & Ryan Kountz Avatar

    I don’t blame you one bit. I personally have zero interest in Apples book publishing efforts. They are trying to do to publishing what they did with music and it flat won’t work. As a writer, I refuse to be walked on by major business entities when it’s my product that makes them rich. Amazon at least as the right idea – put the royalties where they belong – with the creators of the work and both benefit. That’s why their model works and Apple’s is too predatory. Not sure why people wouldn’t be able to get your materials other ways – directly through your website or another alternative method. But then, this is my first time here.

  18. T.R. Larson Avatar
    T.R. Larson

    Sorry you have had to deal with this type of problem. It makes you wonder about the business operations of some companies in an economy such as this. How can they survive? Oh yeah, it’s Apple. Maybe they should just raise the taxes on companies like this and leave the rest alone. They could call it a stupidity tax. I will continue to buy your material in PDF format as always. I can’t get enough of it! Last night, I was suffering a bit of overworked burnout so I perused your blog for a bit and ran into the Matrin Maps. Ummmmm….. WOW. Or should I just say…..WOW. Nice work on the map.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thanks. Glad you liked the map. People seem to be finding some of the strange stuff I have on here now that I have improved the navigation.

  19. Ruthanne Reid Avatar

    Thank you for doing this. I’m sad to say it isn’t the first time a really weird Apple policy has screwed over creatives. Hopefully, they get the message and fix this! In the meantime, thank you for being brave enough to stand up.

  20. Craig McLeod Avatar
    Craig McLeod

    Good call Holly. It’s refreshing to see a hard business decision being made and then providing the full rational behind the decision.
    The use of what might be perceived as bait and switch by Apple is deplorable.
    I for one will not bother with them.

    1. Holly Avatar

      “Bait and switch” was certainly how it came across to me.

  21. BJ Steeves Avatar
    BJ Steeves

    Holly, I am not supprised that Apple has not even tried to resolve your issues. Apple has turned very predatory and I have stopped recommending any Apple products for some time. The have patented and won a design patent on the basic shape of the thin laptops that are on the market shelves now. I am waiting for them to start filing lawsuits on all other manufacturers.

    The new iPhone will have a different size connector rendering all iPhone accesories obsolete for the new phone.

    The new Mac laptops are assembled with all the componenets soldered in or epoxied in making changing the battery, or any upgrades, such as memory, impossible to do.

    No….I can no longer support Apple products anymore.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Haven’t had to do anything with the new stuff. Guess I would have found that out the hard way.

      I’ll keep the machine and OS I have, and hope to hell by the time it’s obsolete some other company has stepped up to fill the Apple void with quality hardware that runs quality software that doesn’t crash.

      I actually WORK while I’m working right now, unlike in the old Windows days, when I cleaned up Windows messes about half the time.

      And just to head off at the pass any folks who are getting ready to say, “Windows has gotten better…”

      No. It hasn’t. I HAVE a current high-end Windows laptop and the most current version of Windows.

      It’s still flaky, it’s still incompatible with half of everything I buy for it, it still crashes all the damn time—and if we’re not talking about my rig, we can talk about my husband’s, or my son’s, about which the exact same things can be said.

      1. mrv Avatar

        I bought a cheap Toshiba Win7 laptop 3 yrs. ago, 17″ w/ AMD cpu and gpu (needed for cad work), cost me $550. 90% of the laptops on the market can’t even do cad (Intel gpu). In all this time, I’ve never had a crash, lockup, whatever. This cheap laptop runs like a top, no problems at all. Sometimes I wonder what people who complain like that are doing to make their life so hard…

        1. Holly Avatar

          Games? Surfing the Internet? I got mine hoping to be able to use it with a couple of pieces of Windows-only truly pricey online membership software, along with some course creation software that looked cool, and retreated in the face of painful bugginess, endless patches, dll and driver issues, and all the rest of the nonsense that sent me away from Windows years ago.

          And what I realized is that it may be a fun, though stupidly expensive, machine to run games on, the Windows OS is nothing I’m going to be willing to entrust with my livelihood. Not again.

          1. gumnaam Avatar

            I would be the last person to recomend windows, but the latest windows version should not throw up driver dll issues.
            I do sometimes boot up XP( my last windows purchase) and it works great for most tasks.

            I use my macbook pro for some casual browsing. Most of my work is done on Ubuntu. Ofcourse i am a developer hence my experiance might be totally different from you.

          2. Gene Avatar

            I applaud your decision to pull out of Apple’s bookstore, based on your experience. I’m not, have never been nor will I ever be a fan of Apple because of their policy of anti-competitiveness in a market that has always been driven by competition. That being said, I would never dissuade someone from publishing on Apple’s platform if that was a way for them to get paid. I’m glad to see there are people like you who are willing to take your business elsewhere when that doesn’t work out though.

            In defense of Windows, I have several machines running Windows, and have had for years. Viruses? Zero. Trojans? Zero. Spyware? Zero. My anti-malware of choice? Common sense. Windows has the biggest target on its back for malware writers because it’s the biggest platform, and they have so much success because the vast majority of computer users have no idea whatsoever how to use a computer. They buy it at the store and start clicking, it’s no surprise they have it back at the store two weeks later bricked up with crapware. I have been using Windows 7 on four machines since release, and the only crash (yes, that’s singular) I ever had was a video driver, and I do everything from music creation to gaming to publishing.

      2. BJ Steeves Avatar
        BJ Steeves

        I never was a Windows fan either….I worked with Unix mainfrrames before Microsoft was a company, and I use linux on all my systems. Much more secure and reliable.

  22. Nessa Avatar

    I’ve used Apple products in the past and they are beautiful in many ways but their exclusivity issues sent me in other directions long ago. A real shame.

  23. Iola Avatar

    If Apple refused to allow you to sell books that mentioned the world’s largest online bookstore…

    …how long before their content bots refuse to allow a book about that big river in South America?

    1. Holly Avatar

      I think they actually have real people reviewing what goes up once anything is stopped by bots. To avoid such stupidity, I suspect—as opposed to the stupidity they’re encouraging.

  24. Shawna Avatar

    I believe more and more that those early hard years somehow warped Jobs mentally – he strove to become the evil Microsoft that he fought so hard against.

    1. Bartimaeus Avatar

      Uh, Jobs is dead. Maybe if he were still around this wouldn’t have happened.

      1. Holly Avatar

        Or maybe it would have. iOS, and making OS X more like iOS, were in the works well before he died.

  25. Laraine Avatar

    Very disappointing, Holly, and I feel for you. Possible problems like this were one reason I went through Smashwords. But I didn’t use Word to create my documents. After the fiasco with Word 6 there was no way I was ever going back to Word, which I had been using since version 1. I used Pages in preference to two other word processors that I own because it exports to both epub and Word formats. Then I downloaded a trial of Word and it opened my files beautifully; they looked exactly as I wanted them. Yet I couldn’t get them to look right once they went through the Smashwords Meatgrinder. But they went through to the Premium catalogue, which was what mattered most, so I had to be content with that.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Why not just use Scrivener to format your books and put them up yourself on the major markets?

      The pay for being a direct indie publisher is better percentage-wise, you get paid monthly, (or daily if you also have your own little shop on your site) you have direct control of your work—meaning you can improve your book pages, run sales when you want them, upload book upgrades, and other good things.

      1. Mid Avatar

        Unfortunately, those of us who don’t live in the USA have no other means of getting on (for example) Barnes & Noble, since they don’t allow non-US writers to apply for PubIt. We HAVE to go through Smashwords.

        1. Holly Lisle Avatar
          Holly Lisle

          I signed up on today after reading their contract. They offer a VERY nice publishing platform, and are open directly to writers from a LARGE number of countries outside the US. Definitely worth a look if this is you.

          1. Mid Avatar

            Yep, I’m on Kobo 🙂

            1. Holly Avatar

              As of today, so am I. 😀 Starting small. I have Plot Outline, Mugging the Muse, and Plot Clinic up just because that was all I had time to add today.

              I’ll get everything else soon.

              1. Gary Townsend Avatar
                Gary Townsend

                Holly, do you have any material on your site (for sale or blog posts) that discuss or other similar sites?

              2. Holly Avatar

                😀 No problem. Yesterday morning, my reply would have been some variant of “no way, no how.”

                Today, it’s, “HOT DAMN! Big new market has opened up. And I already have three books processing toward pub on it.

                Things change.

  26. Jean Avatar

    Sigh. I’ve recently learned to love Apple hardware. I still do. I saw this coming when they made Amazon remove their in-app purchase capability for the Kindle app. They also eventually did this for the nook app. My contingency plan, of course, is to buy a Kindle, but that limits my options more than the iPad.

    I could understand (not really) the need to remove the live links, but to refuse to publish because the lesson content mentions a competitor is foolish. I’m sorry they put you in a position to have to pull your content. This is not a sound business practice, and their iBook business is suffering because of it. I’m particularly disappointed they seem unable to understand this. It’s a terrible blind spot for a company to have.

    1. Sean Avatar

      They made Amazon remove the ability to purchase directly from the app??? What next? Block access to Amazon and B&N websites in case you try to bypass this limitation. I can see the next policy coming: “Apple users are not allowed to access competing websites using the iPad. You will be directed to the proper iStore to purchase products we think you need. If it’s not in the store, then you don’t need it. You are not allowed to access any website to buy phone’s, computers (whole or in part), music players (including CDs), laptops, tablet PCs, or anything belonging to G-G-G-G-Google. If it doesn’t have an ‘i’ in front of it, you can’t buy it. Also, we patented & copyrighted the letter ‘i’. Any usage of this letter, including self-references, costs $3 each.”

      1. Holly Avatar

        Actually, yes—I think blocking access to Amazon and other competitor websites may be part of their long-term goal.

        As I’ve reasoned my way through in response to this question.

  27. Carradee Avatar

    I’m sadly unsurprised by these results.

    I own an Apple computer, but I don’t buy things from the iBookstore. I’ll sooner buy from the B&N store, where it’ll download straight to my Nook—but even that isn’t my first choice. I’d far rather have access to multiple formats at once, since I prefer EPUB on my Nook and PDF on my computer. (I’m one of the folks buying the course through your site.)

    As a self-publisher, that’s one of the reasons I use Smashwords*. Let them mess with the headache of Apple and Kobo (though I’ve heard that Kobo has gotten better). I’ll take the delayed payment in exchange for letting someone else do that administration.**

    *I’m not saying “Holly, you should use Smashwords.” You looked at it, evaluated it, decided not to use it. Your prerogative for your own works.

    **Speaking of administration, when I last tried Google Partner (or whatever it’s called), the site was a self-contradictory nightmare. Have you tried them?

  28. Helen Verte Avatar

    Corporate censorship to protect their market? This is another frightening step trampling freedoms in this country. I’m glad you stood up for your books and their contents.

    1. Holly Avatar

      One more time:

      There is NO SUCH THING as corporate censorship. This has NO RELATIONSHIP to freedom in this country. If a business tells you they don’t want your book, you publish it elsewhere. NO loss whatsoever of freedom of speech.

      1. Bruce Avatar

        Of course there is corporate censorship. If a business tells you they don’t want your book, that’s a business decision that, whatever the underlying reason, is driven by corporate self interest. If, however, they tell you to change it (or worse, change it for you) that is exactly the definition (Oxford Dictionaries of censorship.

        1. Holly Avatar

          Nope. Not the same at all. They couldn’t make me remove the content. They could just give me a good reason to dump them as a distributor and work with folks who are in business to do business.

          1. Dirk Avatar

            I see your point, but would you keep your pov if amazon were acting up like apple?

            1. Holly Avatar

              Of course. ALL of these third-party distributors are an accessory for me—a nice, convenient way to produce my work and make it easily accessible to my readers. You have to realize I was making a full-time living just selling my courses off my website before, and if ALL the third-party outlets turned into crap, I could pull up stakes and go back to doing what I was doing before.

              And because I don’t discount that possibility, my programmer has made sure I have the software that will let me do it at any time, should Amazon decide to get stupid too.

          2. Bruce Avatar

            ” Not the same at all. They couldn’t make me remove the content.”

            Of course they can, if you want to publish through them. You made the decision to seek other markets. How is that different from a writer who wants to publish something in say, Indonesia, but the government says, “if you want to publish here, you have to leave this part out”? You can publish elsewhere, just not within their domain. Same with Apple. I think it is pretty safe to say that there is an audience who will not see your work because it is not available through Apple’s channels. Just like there would be an audience who did not see a writer’s work if he could not publish in some country because the government censors would not accept the work, or would not accept it without changes. Whether you changed your content or not, the offending material has been suppressed from the Apple store.

            I’m curious about where people get the idea that only a government can censor. Is it the (correct) notion that only the government can violate one’s First Amendment rights? And then taking it a step further with some curious logic by which one assumes that because violating a person’s First Amendment free speech rights = censorship, then censorship = violating a person’s First Amendment free speech rights?

  29. Sarah Avatar

    I am disappointed that I won’t be able to purchase your books trough the Apple store. However there is one rule we must remember and can’t overcome. It is Apples store and thus they make the rules.

    Unfait though they maybe to some, that’s the name of the game.

    1. Holly Avatar

      There’s not even any “fairness” in this. They didn’t want to distribute my book. Fine, I’ll go elsewhere. I think they’re idiots for running with their current policies, but they certainly have the right to be idiots.

  30. Tannera Kane Avatar

    I heard a rumor Smashwords won’t sell books for ereaders IF the novel is available for Kindle. I haven’t confirmed the rumor. Folks at Smashwords aren’t returning my email inquiry on this matter. The issue explains why all sales for my books have occurred for Kindle and Createspace- none for other ereaders. In fact, four potential buyers emailed me. They could not download my book from Smashwords. I asked for devices. Here are the numbers: Two Nooks, one Kobo, and one Ipad.

    I’m finished with Smashwords. Why bother to use Smashwords if the company MAY BE restricting sales because of a business conflict with Amazon?

    1. Holly Avatar

      I put Smashwords on my list of “Not good enough for me,” because of the formatting quality coming through the Meatgrinder, and because they only pay once every three months, and because you end up having the store PLUS Smashwords double-dip on your royalties.

      But if it’s true, that would be another good reason not to go through them.

      1. Phil Olynyk Avatar
        Phil Olynyk

        It’s _not_ true. I buy several of my favourite unknown authors through Smashwords, and they are also available through Amazon. It’s possible that this rumour started because Amazon and Smashwords have not been able to agree on terms for including Amazon in Smashword’s Premium program. That’s a far cry from requiring exclusivity, which neither of them do.

        1. Holly Avatar

          Good to know. I still won’t use Smashwords for the reasons noted, but I’m glad they’re still a viable market for the folks who want them.

      2. Carradee Avatar

        Holly, Smashwords pays every 3 months, not 4 (as long as you meet their payment threshold). Barnes & Noble likewise pays them on a 3-month schedule, and their pay period is one month off from Smashwords’s, which might be where you’re getting the 4 from.

        You can also sell in their store without using them as a distributor (but you still unfortunately get paid once per 3 months). If you happen to sell $0.99 short stories like I do, you actually get more through Smashwords than you would going direct, even after their cut.

        Again, not trying to convince you. Just trying to avoid misinformation. ^_^

        1. Holly Avatar

          I actually knew that, but when thinking “quarterly,” wrote the word “four.”

          Focusing on essentials, though, whether it’s three months or four months makes no difference.

          The problem here is, Barnes & Noble pays ME every month. Straight to my bank account, without any third party fees. So does Amazon. So will Kobo, whose new author-direct contract I have now read and found acceptable.

          I live on my writing, so I want as few people as possible between my income and me. And I want my money as close to when I make it as possible. I spent too long living through falling credit ratings and pasta every damn day while waiting for a publisher to come through with an overdue check that was “working its way through accounting.” I got my goddamn book in on time. The least they could do is pay me on time—you’d think.

          Middlemen are hell on your credit rating, hell on your diet, hell on your bank account—and you make less money when you use them.

          So no. Thanks, but no.

          1. Carradee Avatar

            Understood entirely. I freelance write and edit now, so that’s what pays the bills. If my writing were my primary source of income, I might go direct through more vendors. Right now, I don’t find it worth my time.

            P.S. I’m not upgrading to Mountain Lion, either. ^_^

    2. Carradee Avatar

      Tannera, I have never heard that rumor, nor have I experienced it, not as a publisher or a Nook-using reader.

      I download from Smashwords all the time. Did those readers pick the right format? The HTML and JavaScript ones are for online reading, not downloadable. As long as you selected the EPUB, etc., options when publishing, the files should be available.

      (Note: Their customer service is backlogged; it can take a few weeks to get a response, these days, particularly if your inquiry’s bewildering and they have to look into it. Also, a year ago, they had an e-mail glitch sometimes eating e-mails; I think they’ve fixed it, but I don’t know that for certain. I know they were trying to figure out what was causing it.)

      1. Tannera Kane Avatar

        Caradee, I find it odd that with all the views on Smashwords, no one purchased. All sales are through Amazon. I uncovered another issue. According to Bowker, a seperate ISBN must be used for each ebook version. I received one ISBN from Smashwords. If the statement is accurate, the fact I applied the ISBN to a Kindle version may explain the non sales. Smashwords should use a different ISBN for each version.

        1. Carradee Avatar

          Some of the sell-through probably depends on your story’s audience. I make some sales through Smashwords, but I also happen to know of multiple fans in Europe, wherein Smashwords’ prices are VAT-inclusive.

          I also suspect some folks download the larger-than-other-vendors story samples from Smashwords, then buy the story at other e-stores.

          And yes, each ISBN is supposed to be assigned to one format (which includes 1 file type), so that doubled ISBN might be confusing some things.

          Smashwords assigns their ISBN to the EPUB edition, since that’s what tends to be used. (They say as much somewhere in the on-site documentation, but I don’t remember where it was.)

    3. Tannera Kane Avatar

      I agree, Holly. If companies are denying distribution channels because they dont like another company or try to hamper the competition, the author suffers.

  31. AZ Avatar

    Wow, I am left speechless by Apple’s attitude. And full of dismay. Talk about corporate boneheadedness. It’s like they can’t see the forest for the trees… so they cut down all the trees and then wonder why they still can’t see the forest.


    1. Holly Avatar

      Nice analogy.

  32. Galvin Avatar

    Hi Holly,

    I’ve been checking out your website and receiving your writing tips for, well…wow, almost two years now! I’ve never commented before, but on this topic I just wanted to say that I totally back your decision to pull your lessons from Apple.

    I’ve dealt with my fair share of businesses, (and people too) which constantly want you to keep jumping through hoops. It never ends. But I’ve stopped jumping. If I’ve made the initial effort to meet their requirements and then they change what needs to be done, I won’t do it. I’ll take my business elsewhere. It’s their loss.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Exactly what I thought. 😀

      Nice to meet you, too.

  33. Kelly G in ATX Avatar
    Kelly G in ATX

    That is really disappointing to hear. I wish I could say that I’m optimistic Apple will revisit that poor business decision and change course, but it is Apple after all, so it will be a cold day in hell for that to happen. Please keep us update on your journey…the bad is still encouraging to the rest of us and I really admire you for sharing all of it!

  34. RNFrancis Avatar

    My take–Apple is having trouble with the expansion of their market since the iPhone and particularly the iPad made them less of a niche company. Apple wants to use the same business principles in their “quality control” that they used to, including not advertising for the competition. However, they’re playing with the big boys now, and that means offering a wide array of content, even to the price of loosening some of their restrictions.

    Bad call. Have to say I haven’t been pleased with their business decisions of late.

    1. Phil Avatar

      Agreed. I also think that Apple has been able to get away with a lot for a long time because, whatever else can be said for and against their products[*], more than a few of its customers were members of a personality cult in which The Way Of Steve was regarded as the absolute good. Now that Jobs has passed away, Apple may find it can no longer count on that.

      [*] Full disclosure — I’m typing this on a MacBook. Apple ain’t all bad.

      1. RNFrancis Avatar

        LOL, I am writing from a Mac myself, with my iPad in sight. I stand behind both products as useful and “magical” at times. But lately? Apple has lost me a bit with its direction.

    2. Tim King Avatar

      So does this mean that in future, I won’t be allowed to install on my MBP a browser that allows me to buy from Amazon?

      Content is clearly where they’re missing the boat. Apple’s walled garden makes sense only to the extent that it allows them to provide exceptional service to a highly targeted customer base. But stunts like this accomplish the opposite, because they discourage third-party supporters of Apple’s products and services, and Apple—even with its truckloads of cash—is unable to provide everything all by itself. It’s like they’re xenophobic, and xenophobic societies tend to languish in poverty, because they refuse to trade with others for everyone’s benefit.


    3. Holly Avatar

      I think that analysis sums up the problem very well. Thank you.

  35. Deborah Turner Avatar

    I’m sorry you had to deal with this. I’m one who feels this is a stupid move, too. However, I’ve heard that B&N won’t put (physical) books in their stores if you are also selling on Amazon. They check. There was a series of articles in the Seattle Times (March 31-April 4, I think) that exposed the war everyone is raging agains Amazon.

    So my suggestion is to publish with B&N FIRST and then go with Amazon.

    The only thing any of this does is hurt the writer and make it harder to sell books.

    1. Kevin O. McLaughlin Avatar

      This isn’t true. B&N won’t stock the print form of a work (in physical or online stores) if the ebook is *exclusive* to Amazon or published by an Amazon imprint. They’re perfectly happy to stock print and ebooks of any non-exclusive work

    2. Holly Avatar

      They sure are. They have my CreateSpace-printed books on sale in their ebook store right along with my Nook uploads.

      But as I’ve noted elsewhere, and LOTS of times, I won’t play the “exclusive publisher” game.

      As a writer self-pubbing my own work, I’d have to be an idiot to support only one market, thus contributing to the death of the others.

      All my work will go everywhere I can put it that meets my standards.

      Including my own site, in case all these distributors get a case of the Apple-Stupids and my own site is the only place I have left where I CAN sell.

      To quote Sun Tzu, “Prepare not for what the enemy might do, but for what he CAN.”

  36. anjanette Avatar

    Dear Holly,

    I think you are absolutely right, and will support your products when you post them elsewhere. Thank you.

    1. Holly Avatar

      I apologize to all the folks for whom this causes problems. There’s simply no way I can have just SOME of the lessons up on the site. Each one builds on previous lessons.

  37. wednesday Avatar

    It’s amazing that Apple is behaving like an ostrich and being so non-professional. But perhaps it will make you feel a bit better (silver lining to a rotten Apple?) if I tell you that every time you post something about your HTTS lessons, it reminds me to go and buy three more. Which I will do right now.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you for buying them. I’m up to 25 now. Just posted it. Hope to have all of them up on my site AND Amazon and B&N by the end of Friday.

      ‘Cause I wanna write more WARPAINT this weekend.

      1. Lee Avatar

        Woohoo! I finished HTCB earlier this week. Stayed up all night because I could not put it down. Ready to read the further adventures of Cady, sure am, ma’am. =D

  38. Tim King Avatar

    Fascinating. I agree that this is incredibly unprofessional behavior on Apple’s part. Policies like this demonstrate that, to the indie author, Apple is not to be trusted. And I agree with your recommendation. Wow.


  39. Ray Avatar

    If a company offers a decent product or service, they don’t need to resort to this kind of idiocy. When they have to bend over backwards to keep you from even thinking of their competition, to me that is a sign that they know they’re inferior. (And if they’re not actually inferior at the time, they’re sure in the process of making sure they will be.)

    I agree this isn’t censorship. Distributors or publishers all exert some control over the content of works they handle. (The only ones who don’t care about the content at all are scammers who simply want your money.) But at the same time, writers and readers have a right to deal with whoever they choose, and I don’t see any reason why any of us should bother with a business that won’t publish the type of things we want to write and read. Now, no publisher or bookseller is going to offer everything I want, and I don’t expect that. If they avoid certain categories, I’ll still deal with them for the categories they offer that I do want. But, if they start to fiddle with the content of the categories they do allow, so as in your case a book for writers can’t mention Amazon, then I will no longer trust anything they offer. How can I be sure the content hasn’t been skewed by their policies? In that sense – although this is NOT censorship – it does share one similar trait; it prevents the public from trusting the result.

    In terms of opposition, I stand far more fiercely against censorship than against this type of thing, just because with censorship, there is no possibility of competition. But in terms of relying on a source, I don’t see any more reason to trust what passes through Apple’s filter than, say, what passes through the Great Firewall of China (although, obviously, the specifics of what was filtered would be very different).

  40. Saywer Grey Avatar

    Xinxii seems to be a waste of time in terms of volume, and I’ve had issues with them yanking things with no explanation given.

    You definitely need to get over to Kobo, though. And you might consider putting any romances you’ve got the rights for on All Romance. There are fewer titles there than on Amazon/B&N, so it gives you a bit chance to stand out from the crowd.

    1. Holly Avatar

      If Kobo did two things:
      Allow me to create a direct account so that I could control my own access to my work, and,
      Put in their contract that they will leave my prices where I set them (barring finding places where I’m selling my work cheaper)…

      I’d be right there.

      Until they do those two things, they don’t meet my standards for a professional-caliber self-publisher’s market.

      1. Holly Avatar

        And thanks for the tip on XinXii.

      2. Sawyer Grey Avatar

        As of last week, you can create your own publisher account on Kobo, just like Amazon/B&N/Smashwords. The terms of service appear to be essentially the same agency deal you get with Amazon/B&N.

        The company that owns them is putting *big* money into this, hoping to beat Amazon on the international front. Rumor is that they’re going to be putting out their own ereader in the near future.

        1. Anthea Lawson Avatar

          Kobo has had their own ereaders for quite some time, and have excellent product placement in the UK with the WH Smith chain of big bookstores. Plus, they’re based in Canada (and I have strong Canadian sales through them) AND they’re largely owned by Rakuten, a huge Japanese multi-media company – whereas Amazon has not made many inroads into the Asian market. So I predict some good things ahead for Kobo.

        2. Holly Avatar


          Okay. THAT’s cool news. I’ll go check them out. If they’re not unilaterally discounting writer’s works, I’ll find out if I can provide the format they need, and add them to my list.

          Man, it would be SWEET to have a new market to recommend.

          1. Holly Avatar

            And, having read their contract and found it acceptable (FOR MYSELF—THIS DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE), I now have three books up on Kobo.

            A starter set. 😀

      3. Anthea Lawson Avatar

        They do both those things now, with their Kobo Writing Life direct self-pub platform, plus they have some fairly author-centric policies in place. And amazingly responsive customer service for their authors (at least so far). From what I’ve seen, it’s WELL worth your time to go direct with Kobo.

  41. Dee Avatar

    Wow! That is disappointing news. I liked the iBookstore as well. It’s unfortunate that they seem so paranoid about competing websites that they’ll risk alienating a good portion of a paying market and end up costing them a lot in the long run.
    As far as Barnes & Noble title replacements, I think I like the choose-your-adventure style book:

    Worst-Case Scenario Ultimate Adventure: Barnes & Noble

  42. Bill the Bear Avatar
    Bill the Bear

    Companies need to trust consumers and show their trust in consumers. Some do not. This is far from the first time I’ve come across Apple using their power to control how consumers consume. Not impressed. I fully support your decision and my hope is that one day consumers will stop putting up with unfair practices and will start boycotting companies for these actions and hurt them in the wallet. A 90% cut in Apple share price would be a just consequence for their actions over recent years and might just make them think about their decisions in the future. Somehow I suspect they’ll continue to be the big bully (like many other firms) and exercise their influence to the disadvantage of people like you and me. Its disgraceful.

    Well, they can’t stop me telling everyone I get the chance to how bad they are and in my own small way doing my damnedest to ruin their reputation. I hope they factor that in to their business decisions in the future.

    1. Holly Avatar

      It doesn’t take anything as melodramatic as a boycott. If you’re a gamer, look at Sony. When their system was accessible to outside producers, the Playstation RULED.

      Now it’s a dying system with a library of aging games, and their new stuff, like the Vita, is tanking hellishly.

      They didn’t get boycotted. They just made it painful, difficult, and unprofitable for game creators to develop for them.

      If you’re a business and you mistake market share as something you own, instead of something you earn every day, you’re going to get your ass kicked.

      1. Lee Avatar

        If only we could sit all the corporate decision makers down and tell them this over and over…

        Picture this: Somewhere in space, somewhere in time, all the corporate movers and shakers and decision makers are gathered around a conference table (a biiiig conference table). Strapped in their chairs, toothpicks holding their eyes open, a captive audience before a television screen à la Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange. But that was then and this is now and it’s a 3D-HDTV and they’re wearing 3D glasses. A lady appears on screen and begins to speak. “If you’re a business and you mistake market share as something you own, instead of something you earn every day, you’re going to get your ass kicked.” Then the lady lunges out of the screen at them, sword, er, laser stunner thingy drawn.

        Wait! That’s no lady! It’s Cady!

        Ahem. See what happens when I read your books, Holly? Oh, and my apologies to Cady. I’m sure she is a lady. A butt-kickin’ ass-stompin’ lady, but a lady nonetheless. I guess. 😉

  43. Tim Walker Avatar
    Tim Walker

    I am saddened by your experience and agree with your choice. I am a new writer preparing to publish my first novel. With this unfortunate turn of events, I will seriously consider not selling ‘Howard and the Crystal of Jedh’ in the i(kindle) store. Not sure if I can reasonably do that as a new author, but I will consider the ramifications.

    Keep writing, you help me write with joy.


    1. Holly Avatar

      For what it may be worth to you, my sales on Apple were about 5% of my total market. With my work taking off somewhat on Amazon, they’ve become less than 1%.

      If you don’t want to spend the big money to buy legit ISBNs just to meet Apple’s requirement, you’ll still be all right without them.

      1. Tim Walker Avatar
        Tim Walker

        Thanks, I think I will go that route. I have appreciated your help and do so again. Thanks for taking the time to respond to emails.


  44. Lexi Revellian Avatar

    Apple is clearly smarting over the whole Department of Justice and the Price-Fix Six business. Feelings are running high – to them Amazon is the Big Baddie.

    Fascinating to watch developments.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Is is fascinating, in a depressing way. Their whole strategy right now seems to be “Let’s do something dumb. Now let’s do something dumber.”

  45. Lee Avatar


    What is up with corporations and stupid marketing shit like this?

    That’s up there with certain game companies making games available on only 1 or 2 platforms. Like CCP for instance, the makers of Eve Online. They came out with a ground shooter set in the Eve universe and made it available only for PS3. Now out of millions of Eve players, don’t you think a substantial percentage would have like to have gotten into Dust 514 without having to go to a console to play it? Talk about lost revenue.

    Apple is freaking shooting itself in the foot, and they’re going to find themselves in a Commodore situation and bankruptcy, when droves of people just decide not to put up with that shit.

    And the thing with Barnes&Noble is just plain stooopid lol.

    1. Holly Avatar

      As noted elsewhere, that wasn’t B&N. That was some idiot book packager.

  46. Mike Avatar

    While I agree with you concerning the idiocy of trying to eliminate any mention of their competition in the works that they publish, I am curious as to what exactly your beef is with the sandboxing?

    1. Holly Avatar

      Sandboxing prevents programs from accessing things outside Apple’s “walled garden.”

      While this might seem like a nice safety feature initially, you have to remember two things:

      1) Apple wants to make OS X more like iOS.
      2) From a financial standpoint (and if you want to understand what a company is likely to do, you’d BETTER be looking at the financial standpoint) the primary monetary feature of iOS is that your iPhone or iPad or iPod can only buy software from Apple’s App Store.

      With one and two established, realize that Mountain Lion is shipping with a little software switch that will allow users to voluntarily make the Apple Store (the big-boy version of the App Store) the only place they CAN buy software. (To protect them from the Big, Bad Internet, you know.)

      Okay. So now you have software that can not do anything Apple does not want it to do in the Apple Store, and an OS that can close off software purchases from anywhere BUT the Apple Store.

      And in an upgrade down the road, Apple can say, “Gee folks, so many of you are using the Apple Store exclusively that we’ve just removed that little switch that let people buy software from outside third-party vendors. For your safety, of course.”

      And now your COMPUTER, THE SOURCE OF YOUR LIVELIHOOD (if you’re me, anyway) can only buy and run software Apple is willing to approve.

      And boom, from the financial standpoint, OS X has just become like iOS.

      I’ve now had first-hand experience with how Apple’s approval process works. It does not work to my benefit.

      Which is WHY I’m not upgrading to Mountain Lion.

      1. Tim King Avatar

        This is also why I’m expecting my next laptop upgrade to run Linux instead of OS/X, which is a bummer, because I adore the user-friendliness coupled with the power of a *nix-y OS behind it.

        1. Holly Avatar

          Yeah. Me, too. I’m SO not happy with the direction Apple is taking right now.

          1. Gary Townsend Avatar
            Gary Townsend

            You know, you don’t necessarily have to buy a new computer to run a new OS. My computer is a 2010 PowerBook. I’ve currently got Windows 7 (yuck!) running in Parallels Desktop on my Mac (but only because classes at the school I attend require software from MicroSloth). However, prior to that, I also had Ubuntu Linux running on my machine using Oracle’s VirtualBox. Technically, it should be perfectly feasible to blow out the Mac OS and run Linux on it natively. UNIX boxes are bloody sturdy beasts!

  47. Margaret Motheral Avatar
    Margaret Motheral

    At first I was very excited when my new program offered iBook but after reading the fine print, I felt they were trying to profit from me and keep me in poverty. No thanks.

    Thanks for confirming.


    1. Holly Avatar

      Oh, they’re reliable as hell with the payments, and their royalties are 70%. And their accounting is crystal-clear and easy to understand, and you can see every sale every day.

      Where money is concerned, they’re professional as hell. Another reason I HATE having to drop them.

  48. Lisa Avatar

    I couldn’t agree with you more as I read the “unbelievably stupid business decision” paragraph — oh, and with the “head-up-ass” description of the Apple-ite that made this decision. I think (hope!) you’ll be better off with your other distributors.

  49. Jan Avatar

    Unbelievable. Did you also hear the one about the ‘Nook’ e-reader? Where a reader found that every instance of the word ‘kindle’ (as in, ‘he kindled a fire’) had been replaced with ‘nook’? It would be funny if it weren’t so likely to represent the level of business decision actually being made by people who think they’re market-savvy.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Ogod. I can just imagine the hundreds of novels that have the word Amazon in the title.

      The Barnes & Nobles.
      The Barnes & Noble Lily
      Slave Girls and Barnes & Nobles
      Last of the Barnes & Nobles


      1. Geraldine Ketchum Avatar
        Geraldine Ketchum

        These kinds of idiotic rules are everywhere. Several years ago I listed a book about William the Conquerer on ebay. He was the bastard son of the Duke of Normandy, so Jean Plaidy called her book The Bastard.
        My listing was removed and I received a stern notice from ebay saying that this kind of thing is not tolerated and one more incident would get me black-balled. Of course there is no way to fight this kind of thing.
        Still makes me laugh.

        1. Phil Avatar

          “Several years ago I listed a book about William the Conquerer on ebay. He was the bastard son of the Duke of Normandy, so Jean Plaidy called her book The Bastard. […] I received a stern notice from ebay saying that this kind of thing is not tolerated”

          I got something very similar from Yahoo once when I used the word “niggardly” in a post in a Yahoo group. Funny thing was, I didn’t use “niggardly” in passing — my post was specifically about the confusion between it and the N-word! I guess some people — including certain admins of Yahoo and Ebay — just can’t read.

    2. Cian Avatar

      Actually, that wasn’t B&N’s fault… an ebook publishing company that publishes classics for 99 cents each took the Kindle version of War and Peace they published and for some odd reason thought it would be a good idea to do a find and replace of all the instances of Kindle with Nook and Kindled with Nookd. This wasn’t anything B&N did!

      But this Apple business is craziness. I won’t buy their products because of shenanigans like these.

      1. Holly Avatar

        I’m relieved to hear about Barnes & Noble. I’m desperate for MORE quality markets for my work. I don’t want to get rid of the ones I have.

    3. Phil Avatar

      “a reader found that every instance of the word ‘kindle’ (as in, ‘he kindled a fire’) had been replaced with ‘nook’?”

      Wow … I thought that sort of thing was long gone, not because of any advances in business common sense, but because of technical advances. Guess not.

      That reminds me of a spam email I got, about fifteen years ago. It was one of those where’s there’s a general form letter with the recipient’s name inserted at appropriate places. Well, this company had somehow got my first name as “Mister” — and so the email contained all sorts of bizarre sentences like, “Let me tell you, Mister, this is the greatest product you’ve ever seen,” and “Your friends will thank you for sharing this with them, and when they’re asked how they learned about it they’ll say, ‘Mister recommended it to me.’”

      Off topic, I know, but it made me laugh. Thanks for reminding me of it. 🙂

      1. Holly Avatar

        Note the post above where it was not B&N that did this, but a packager.

    4. C.A. Avatar

      I remember that! It resulted in things like a scene in War and Peace in which, I recall, the characters Nookd a fire. Funny, but also sad.

      1. Sean Avatar

        Nookd a fire: (V) to create a pile of Nooks and set them on fire

  50. Dianna Bell Avatar
    Dianna Bell

    Apple are so focused on controlling everything about themselves that they don’t care who they screw over. I’ve never bought an Apple product because of this–I can do what *I* want with my PC.

    I’m sad and disappointed you’ve had to pull the course… but sadly not surprised.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Sad and disappointed sums up my feelings pretty well, here, too.

      I wanted so much for them to turn out to be a viable market, because I love their hardware.

      Used to love their software.

      Damn dismayed by their current business decisions.

      1. Sarah Avatar

        Same here – love their hardware, don’t like their attitude.

        I’m glad you’re publicising the problems you’ve had with them.

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