HomeWriting LifeComputersCrippling A Lesson: An Apple iBookstore Ethical and Practical Issue

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Crippling A Lesson: An Apple iBookstore Ethical and Practical Issue — 90 Comments

  1. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: My iPad only.

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: almost 5 years

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: Instruct your students to buy that particular lesson on a different platform. If they really really want it in their iBookshelf, they purchase directly from you (which I believe is a PDF?), send it to their iPad, and open in iBooks. I have every single course from you on my iBookshelf – it’s very easy to move PDFs to the iPad and open/store them there.

    WHY: Because it doesn’t negatively impact your students to have them buy the one portion from another site – and if they purchase from you directly, they can have it on their iBookshelf anyway. It would actually only negatively impact the student if you didn’t ask them to go out of their way just this one time.

  2. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPad

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: 6 years

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: Have a link to the PDF on your site.

    WHY: This isn’t really an issue of Apple being unfair. Amazon and Barnes and Noble (and Createspace) do not allow links in ebooks to their competitors sites. (Amazon doesn’t want B&N links in ebooks sold on their site, and vice versa.) Or, if you feel this is unfair, then those three stores are being unfair together. 🙂 It makes it a bit of a pain in formatting (I use Scrivener) to swap out the links to make sure they’re store specific, but I can see where the stores are coming from.

    • Please note that in the post, I NEVER said Apple was being unfair. NEVER. I said they had every right to do what they were doing, and that it was neither wrong nor unethical. I said it was a STUPID decision on Apple’s part, but that they had every right to make stupid business decisions.

      My issue is SOLELY with getting a usable, full-value lesson to customers who paid for it while dealing with annoying obstacles.

  3. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS:
    MacBook Pro
    iPhone
    iPad
    various iPods (in the past)

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER:
    eight with iPods, four with anything else

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO:
    Sell a slightly altered version that describes how to find what you want readers to see on Amazon rather than posting links. If you like, you can add a link to your own site that describes the situation and explains why the content is slightly different. At the very least, explain to readers on the iBookstore that Lesson 6 is different and that if they choose to buy on the iBookstore anyway, it will be at their own risk.

    WHY:
    For me, it’s about user facilitation. If I want to study HTTS on my iOS device, I want it all in one place. I don’t want to have to switch apps for just one lesson, especially as I may for some reason decide to delete the Kindle app (or something like that). I also use an Amazon Kindle (customer two years), and it’s a GREAT product. But I also love my iPad. For those who want to use the entire course on a single ecosystem, let them do it even if they miss out slightly. As I said, add a Caveat Emptor if you must and let readers make the decision.

  4. I use I pad , iPod, iPhone
    For about 3 years

    I would go for the PDF if it were up to me. I ave started getting these lessons here on iBooks and would like to get the whole set right here.

  5. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPad generation 3; it’s my first foray into anything on which I can read ebooks. Alas, the only books I get from the iBooks store are out-of-copyrigjht free ones; nothing else is available yet to New Zealanders. (Yes, I’m right miffed!) But I guess that qualifies me as a customer?

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: Now you’ve got me counting on my fingers. 🙂 26 years.

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: I’d go the PDF download way. I don’t see why buyers should be brain-dead enough not to download it. Remember you are selling here to writers, not just ordinary readers. Writers are generally smart–except in their choice of a way of making a living, perhaps. :-0

    WHY: Because it’s an easy solution and it should work.

    And now I’m wondering if Apple will baulk at my inclusion of a link to my Smashwords page at the end of every one of my books. They shouldn’t, because Smashwords is my agent (or aggregator, as Apple prefers to call it) and Apple itself appointed them as such. But if we want to split hairs, it’s much the same thing!

  6. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPad

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: About 2 1/2 years

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: I was very surprised when I purchased by iPad and realized how territorial Apple is about some of the types of apps they would not allow in the app store! I didn’t realize that they are also putting certain restrictions on their bookstore! I think that is really a shame. If the only thing that they are objecting to is the actual link to Amazon, can’t you just work around it by saying something like “go to Amazon” or “go to Amazon’s website and do…”? Just change that wording a little bit for the Apple store? I think most people know where Amazon is on the Internet or they can Google it. Other than that, I would put a link to a special page on your website giving the link to Amazon.

    WHY: You know that old saying “you can’t fight City Hall”? I don’t think you could win a battle against Apple, but I would hate to see you pull the lesson or lessons from their store, because you have a lot of valuable information to give and I would hate for anyone who wants to receive it not to be able to do so.

    That will be two cents please!

  7. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPad, iPhone

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: 8-ish

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: Put full instructions and a permitted link in the lesson (and an explanation as to why you cannot provide direct links to Amazon). I’m not sure why you think iBooks users wouldn’t “download” a PDF – I suspect that a link to a PDF would open that file in Preview and then allow links in the PDF to open Safari. Or, if allowed, you could achieve the same thing by linking to a webpage that explained Apple’s policy and then listed the links 🙂

    WHY: We Apple customers are used to this kind of crap – they’ve already banned Amazon from allowing purchases via the Kindle app (although I only buy Kindle content if there’s no other option, as I prefer iBooks as a reading experience). A courteous explanation as to why the extra step is necessary would be much appreciated, however.

  8. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS:
    Ipad, imac – but no where near as many books as on my Kindle app or Kobo app
    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: over 20 as a mac guy
    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: As you mention, you do not think many people would respond to a PDF download – but the thing is, if you have that there, with instructions on how iBook people could get the link, then you have lived up to your offer.
    WHY: Because it is implicit in your entire writing philosophy – it’s just as much for you as it is for the ibook readers. I’m reminded of your lesson on promises in HTRYN, one of which is to yourself. Doing all you can to keep your promise of putting out a complete training package has no real bearing on who follows through and completes the course.
    Hope that helps,
    Jim Miller

    • Thanks, Jim,

      In the midst of frustration, it’s easy to overlook the bigger picture.

      • “but the thing is, if you have that there, with instructions on how iBook people could get the link, then you have lived up to your offer.”

        Exactly!!! Nail on the head! :)) Do the pdf and dont lose sleep over it!

  9. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS:
    iPhone & iPad

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER:
    10+ (Apple has become so annoying with their un-customer friendly policies. Have they learned nothing from that other behemoth technology company?)

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO:
    Remove the links and refer the reader to your website. Include a footnote explaining why.

    I think that Apple Corporate should also know why this policy hurts their business.

    WHY:
    If you plan to keep the other lessons on Apple iBooks they should all be available there. It’s not a problem for a reader to download content from your site. If they’re taking the course they’re probably already downloading other content there anyway.

  10. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPad

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: 1

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO:

    I second the suggestion (although I suspect you may have already done this) to try and explain to Apple that these aren’t links for people to buy things from Amazon, and that in fact you say in the book that they don’t need to buy from Amazon. Maybe that will help.

    If that doesn’t work, I think the suggestion for a PDF download with a password provided in the lesson is the most sensible. Given that some poeple can only have access through iBooks, cutting them off seems unnecessary.

    WHY: For the first idea, I’d love to see this work out so you can sell the full lesson in iBooks. For the second, I would love to be able to buy your lessons in iBooks, since that’s the only financially not hard way for me to acquire them. I don’t have my own credit card and iTunes gift cards allow me to buy things from iBooks without hassle.

  11. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS:
    iPad
    iPhone

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER:
    I bought an AppleII in 1981 and have purchased Apple stuff ever since. So let’s say 31 years.

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO:
    Sell a book about how to use Amazon on Amazon. If I want it, I’m smart enough to tap the Kindle icon on my iPad.

    WHY:
    There is no reason to expect any vendor to facilitate the use of a direct competitor.

    • Hi, Tom,

      It’s not a book about how to use Amazon. PLEASE read the post.

      The lesson is about how to research changing genres, or find new genres that might be willing to buy books that didn’t sell in the planned genre.

      I’m truly tired of people not reading what I wrote, and responding to something totally off topic.

  12. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS:
    Iphone IBood and four Macs in my home

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER:
    15 years

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO:
    I would not alter the lesson’s if I were you.
    WHY:
    Although I love Apple and their products, I find some of their practices frustrating at best. I have Ibooks on all of my devices, but use Kindle on them most often. Amazon offers me more options, and I don’t like it when a company tries to force my business. They even made Amazon remove the button for shopping for new books from the Mac version of Kindle. If they provide good selection, and options in genre, they shouldn’t need to use these type tactics to keep (or loose)business. I do know that this is not just mistake made by lower level employees, this is unfortunately typical of Apple. I love Apple but they can be difficult.

  13. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPad 2

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: 9+ years

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO:
    I think having a downloadable PDF, while not as immediate as the links, would be a workable option. As for the Kindle and Nook apps for iPad, I have and use them both, and would use them if required for the class.
    I must admit, I do llike Ann’s idea earlier to make a link to your page and have the information available on a non-competing website. It’s an interesting workaround.
    WHY:
    Asking a student to download a PDF isn’t requiring much, just a bit of personal initiative in order to get the materials they need for the course. You could also add the Kindle and Nook app options for folks who find the PDF format too inconvenient. The truth is, no matter how accessible you make it, some folks will complain and others will do what’s necessary to get the lesson. I ran through lesson six a while ago and found it to be a very valuable tool. It’s worth learning in any format.

  14. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPhone, iPad

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: 10(ish)

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: Pull your content

    WHY: Matter of principle. Apple’s policies are not in the best interest of either content providers or customers. I was really keen on the iBook store but as you and others have pointed out, the selection is poor.
    (And it pains me to say it because not so long ago, I was a happy Apple user. This whole closed eco system malarkey, though, has me seriously consider Linux or, gasp, a return to Windows … )

  15. Someone may already have said this, but I would tell them exactly what you need and ask them where they provide that.

  16. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS:

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: About 12 years an Apple customer. About 4 years have been using Apple e-books (Although mostly using their e-book reader and few purchases from iTunes as I will explain).

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: You need to think about this as YOUR business. Reduce the cost of that lesson by a tiny bit and remove the link… pasting into its place one sentence clean version of **Apple insisting this be removed so you have removed it.**

    WHY: Because this is your business. And you remove little information, while allowing yourself to make money by selling a LOT of great information to people who need it. They will be losing a tiny bit of information, but what they gain in fact is all the rest, and all the rest is extremely useful and will then still be available to them. If you in a sentence or paragraph explain what the link does… most people will be smart enough to understand without the link.

    I have been using an iPhone since the beginning. But I really dislike all the very poor ways Apple sometimes sets up their systems, and their programs. I have spent too many hours fixing a large number of simple things like recovering passwords or managing clumsy Apple accounts or figuring out why iTunes doesn’t work or just why it is designed so poorly. It reflects how time after time they do not set customers first, they just live by their myopic internal, probably arrogant, business view. This is just another example of arrogance and a business view that will eventually cause them big problems.

    You must completely ignore them and just make your stuff available through them anyways…IF that indeed is the only way some people have access to it.

    Is there no way you can use the multiple international versions of PayPal like options out there instead to sell direct?

    • Is there no way you can use the multiple international versions of PayPal like options out there instead to sell direct?

      If you offer PayPal, then it will work for anyone in any country that has PayPal. So I’m already doing this through my shop.

      PayPal, however, simply isn’t universal. If it’s the only option, folks in Egypt, South Africa, and other countries who WANT to take the courses won’t be able to.

      (Why do I mention those countries? Because I’ve had to give the bad news to folks from BOTH those countries when I ONLY offered PayPal. Amazon, B&N, and Apple are ways I can reach more. I doubt there’s any way I can make the courses available everywhere.)

      • “PayPal, however, simply isn’t universal. If it’s the only option, folks in Egypt, South Africa, and other countries who WANT to take the courses won’t be able to.”

        AlertPay and Moneybookers. With these you should have the whole planet covered 🙂
        (AlertPay is cheaper but I have not tested it much, MoneyBookers require $25/month and covers all or almost all countries)

  17. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS:
    iPad 3

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER:
    Currently: 0.25!
    I had Macs many years ago. Between Macs and PCs, the only ones I had major problems with and which required a visit to a store to fix were Macs, so I moved entirely to PCs.
    Macs are neat but restrictive and terribly over-priced, etc, etc, and Apple is a restrictive company, etc, etc..
    The iPad is the only Mac thing I’ve bought for donkeys!

    Anyway, I know you didn’t want to hear all that but 🙂 that’s how I stand as an ‘Apple’ customer.

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO:
    Put a link to the PDF. People who follow the course WILL download it.

    AND/OR…

    I also use the free Kindle app on the iPad to read Kindle books so dedicated Apple users – both of them 🙂 – could install the app and buy the Kindle version.

    WHY:
    Support Apple customers as much as you can (via the PDF) but don’t sweat the small stuff and by offering it on Kindle, Apple users can easily access the full version if they want.

  18. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPad (and I have the Kindle app)

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: Including (an original) iPod — 10+ years

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: I’m all about fighting the good fight (as long as it’s worth it in the long run). In this situation, though, Apple is bigger than you and it’s probably a losing battle.

    Link the information to a PDF — as other responders have said, by the time people reach lesson 6, they’ll do what they need to do to continue. Let ‘students’ know from Day One that this is an issue and provide them with the solution.

    WHY: You’re still providing the necessary information. What you see as a possible inconvenience may not even be a passing thought to the student.

    Side note: My first thought while reading this scenario was of Miracle on 34th Street where the Macy’s Santa sends shoppers to Gimbels or whatever store had the requested item. There’s something to be said about providing good customer service, even if it means going to a competitor.

    I’m getting a chuckle out of envisioning Apple reps thinking, “Oh, no! We can’t let people know about Amazon!”

    • I’m getting a chuckle out of envisioning Apple reps thinking, “Oh, no! We can’t let people know about Amazon!”

      Seriously. Me, too.

  19. APPLE DEVICES: iPad
    YEARS AS APPLE CUSTOMER: about two
    WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
    Tough call. You’re not the first person I’ve seen face this challenge. Pulling down the entire HTTS course from iBooks would be bad business, but putting it all up thee except one lesson will confuse readers. I think I’d lean toward linking to e PDF, with an explanation of why you’re doing so.

    WHY?
    Best route through a messy situation. This is Really Bad Business on their part. But if you simply don’t upload that lesson, readers will get frustrated if they’ve been reading on iPad and can’t find a lesson. It would look like it was YOU being unprofessional, then. The link to a PDF lets you explain why you’re doing this, and then fill in the gap anyway.

    And anyone who is wondering why Amazon dominates the ebook market and Apple has a single digit percentage, this sort is stupidity is a good chunk of the reason. It’s not any one thing, but rather a consistent pile of bad decisions made by most of Amazon’s “competitors” (in air quotes because there aren’t too many companies acting like they really want to compete). Makes me throw my hands up in disgust, sometimes.

    • I want Apple iBookstore to be a big, booming, competitive market. It’s good for reader AND writers to have a lot of strong platforms on which to present work AND to buy it.

  20. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPad (although it is new and I mostly use Kindle or Nook for eReading, and I use my PC for your coursework.)
    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: 20+ with interruptions and my business life is tied to PC use.
    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: Since you have stated that you have international customers who can only access your courses via the iBooks store, you should remove all other thoughts from your consideration and focus on how best to serve that market niche, and what that would cost you.
    The PDF is your easiest option. You could put a link in your iBook version that would take readers to your website where they would find an excerpt from the full lesson content with the directions for the process and links to Amazon. If there are other places in your Course(s) where this comes up, you could create a landing page on your website just for these types of course materials.
    Another consideration is the time and effort it will take to always check every chapter for things that Apple will not let you do and create a work-around. I understand that you are trying to universalize your courses for all platforms and all potential customers. However, your time is valuable, your web-space is valuable, your mental health is valuable… So, once again this brings you back to thinking about the market niche. If this market niche is not financially significant, I would cut it loose.
    WHY: There are moments in life when you need to think of what is best for you, and anything related to your publishing that “bugs the shit out of you,” should be eliminated if at all possible. Trying to be all things to all people will drive you over the edge. Responding to bad business choices by spending time and effort to work around them will drive you over the edge. The last thing you need is anything that is likely to make your life more complicated, waste your time, keep you from your actual writing, bring on more migraines or any combination of the above. IMHO, just letting Apple go is the best choice for you and your business.

  21. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS:
    iPad, Apple Laptop

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER:
    ~20 years
    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO:
    I think that it is reasonable to consider this as one would a text-book, where the information might be provided as text, rather than as a link. This would allow the information to be disseminated and allow the reader to still USE the information with only a minimal amount of work — but would still allow you to provide that information on iBooks, which, if nothing else, will retain that market.

    There was a time when no book came with automated links to external materials, and while it is expected that this is a part of modern materials, sometimes, it is not feasible, so I don’t really see it as a hardship to do a little typing on my own when there is not an automated link to take me to someplace that is referenced.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share.

    WHY:

  22. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPad
    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: 2
    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: Make the links to a page on your website that then has all the research links (not a downloaded PDF)

    WHY: two reasons:
    1. the link is not to a competing website so they should have no issue.
    2. If Amazon ever changes up their site (they’ve been known to change things) you only have to change the links on your website not in the iBook.

    This is the same thing people do to put affiliate links in Kindle books as Amazon won’t allow affiliate links in books to anything other than Amazon.

  23. Hi Holly,

    Could you elaborate on a couple of things?

    > “I know there are some folks in some countries for whom the Apple iBooks store is their ONLY way to get these lessons.”

    Which countries? How many of your students fall into this category — able to get the lessons _only_ through iBooks?

    > “I can remove the links, but add a link to a PDF the reader could download directly from my site that would include the missing links, knowing when I do this that many readers will NOT download the PDF.”

    If these students’ Internet access is so restricted that they can only get this material through iBooks, would they even be able to download this PDF from your web site if given the link? And if they can download that PDF, why can they not get the rest of their lessons that way and avoid iBooks altogether?

    My apologies for “butting in” — I’m one of your students but not an iBooks customer — but I think it might help the iBooks folks give you even better feedback if they knew a little more about this.

    Phil

    • Hi, Phil,

      I have no way of knowing how many of my students only have access to lessons through iBooks, or which countries this affect. I know one does, and she’s in eastern Europe. I know this only because she wrote and told me, and thanked me for making them available in that venue.

      The issue was payment, not downloads. Paypal doesn’t work where she lives, and neither does Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

      As for “some,” you have to assume when you’re doing this that you will NEVER hear from at least 90% of the people who read your work, use your courses, read your weblog, etc.

      If you have ONE person who lets you know about a problem, something that works, etc., you must assume that there are at least nine people who face the same issue from whom you will never hear.

      • > “I know one does, and she’s in eastern Europe. […] The issue was payment, not downloads. Paypal doesn’t work where she lives”

        Thanks for clearing that up for me. And I absolutely agree that one known customer with an issue means several others who haven’t said anything. For what it’s worth, I’ve had problems using PayPal for sending money between the US and _western_ Europe; I can only imagine what it might be like in eastern Europe and some other areas!

  24. ===================================

    APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPod

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: 26

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO:
    Set up the PDF, and rewrite the text in the iBook to indicate to the reader that they will be missing a CRUCIAL opportunity if they do not click the link to the PDF.

    WHY:
    If you indicate in the strongest way possible that the PDF contains proprietary information that cannot be gotten anywhere else, that its COMPLETELY FREE, that it will boost their market research results into the stratosphere–i.e, whatever it takes to motivate ethically, then it’s up to the reader to decide whether they are interested in the information.
    It’s not the best situation, but these publishing platforms are owned by megacorporations, and they will all try to limit what the author can do in some way. Until there is a world-wide mega corporation of authors themselves, or some kind of open-source publishing platform run by authors for authors, I don’t see that anything can be done about the publishers’ power. And it doesn’t seem likely that the downtrodden authors of the world will be able to create platforms that can compete with the megacorps. But it would be great if they could.
    ===================================

    • Writers are always able to offer their work on their own sites. This worked very nicely for me for the past six years. I’ve expanded to the other platforms, but at the last moment decided to hang onto my own store, simply because that way, no matter what the big platforms do, I’m not at their mercy.

      If you use WordPress, a remarkably customer-friendly shop with excellent customer service and a very good price is available here: Tips & Tricks eStore

      This is not an affiliate link (though I have one). The shop is the one I chose to go with after years of aggravating my customers and myself with another cart. I’ve bought and tried quite a few, MANY of them much more expensive than this one.

      This one I love. (You can see why it’s so cool in my shop if you’d like. Just click the SHOP link in the header above.)

      I’m going to start recommending to all my students that they have their own on-site shop for their work, simply for this reason.

  25. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPad, iPhone – as it does not work on my Mac, I do have a preference for Kindle books.

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: 7

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: It would be a shame if the iBooks version were crippled. I think that the best solution is to have a link to your website with the PDF.

    WHY: This gives the reader the full information. If they are not going to lift a finger to download a PDF, they are hardly likely to use the research techniques on Amazon!
    (I am a graduate student of HTTS.)

  26. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPad, MacBook Pro

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: 12+

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: Remove the links from the iBooks version but make it available anyhow, with the PDF download option, but continue to be vocal about the issue. Let your client decide how they want to deal with the problem.

    WHY: I don’t agree with what Apple is doing, but I hate to see people unable to read the lessons on whatever platform they choose. And there should be a way to explain the technique proposed in the lesson without actually using hyperlinks.

    • To learn the technique, you actually have to USE the technique—and this requires the hyperlinks, which are part of the technique.

  27. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPad

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: 9 (counting from my iPod purchase; 4 from actual computer purchase)

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: The link to the PDF on your site with the pertinent information after describing the technique as completely as possible in the lesson text seems to be the better of bad options. Worse options would be to not offer that lesson on iBooks, but how would people find it? It would be very bad for people to invest in lessons on iBooks only to discover they couldn’t get them all there. You could pull all your lessons from iBooks, but that may not be optimal either.

    WHY: As others have noted, iBooks is my least used ebook format. I don’t trust it. I will download free content and little else. When Apple forced Amazon to remove their direct link to the Kindle store from their own reader, I became determined not to support iBooks unless that was the only source for content.

    As you’ve noted, you work with iBooks for your students. For people with an iPad who may not know or want to know about alternatives, iBooks will likely be their choice. I hesitated to answer, because I would never purchase your lessons on iBooks. PDF from your site would be my preference, followed by Kindle, with nook as a distant third, and iBooks only out of desperation.
    ===================================

  28. I’m replying on a phone so cannot easily copy and paste the questionnaire.

    ICustomer for around 4 years on iPhone and iPad.

    I significantly prefer the iBooks format and only use my Kindle app if I desperately want the content in e format otherwise if I can’t get iBook I would actually prefer to buy paper. I know it’s petty but I hate the page turning in Kindle and nook isn’t really an option I where I live so I don’t know how that works. I am already a HTTS student so I wouldn’t by the eBooks but non availability in iBook format would affect my choice to buy the course or not. I would go for the PDF option as I would go to your site to download it

  29. iOS Device: iPod Touch, iPhone

    Years as Apple Consumer: 10+

    What you should do: play nice with Apple and remove the links as they request

    Why: I think you are allowing your own ethics and general outrage of Apple’s tactics guide your business decision. To call removing external links from your content “crippling” is a bit of an over-reaction, no?

    Seriously…if somebody is ponying up the cash to buy these titles, I am reasonably certain that they can download a PDF or open Amazon in a browser window. Whether or not they should have to is irrelevant.

    Apple has always marched to a different drummer and is a big proponent of closed architecture and proprietary technologies and digital formats so I don’t know why this is so shocking to some. Do I agree with it, and is this how *I* would do business? No, but this is their party, and I like their product so I put aside my offended sensibilities when I purchased their devices.

    I have bought every “how to…” title you offer on iBooks and if you remove this offering, I won’t purchase it on another platform. Period.

    I like the fact that I can make an online purchase of iBooks content using an iTunes gift card, and thereby guard my credit card information. Yes, there is a Kindle app and a Nook app for iPhone, but in order to purchase content on either of these platforms I need to provide CC info and I feel squeamish and uncomfortable doing that.

    If you pull the title from iBooks, you will lose a sale, right here. End stop.

    Please don’t. Apple’s content is already wafer thin, why exacerbate the problem and at the same time limit potential sales?

    Off topic, but I think the iBook app is superior to any of the the e-reader apps available for iPhone (with the the exception of Lexxcycle’s Stanza app, which Amazon bought and seems intent on destroying). The choice iPhone e-readers currently face is great content but crappy app ( Kindle) or great app but crappy content (iBooks). Please please please maintain your presence on iBooks along with a full library of titles!

    Regards,

    Glenn Shadbolt

    • Why: I think you are allowing your own ethics and general outrage of Apple’s tactics guide your business decision. To call removing external links from your content “crippling” is a bit of an over-reaction, no?

      No. The links are part of the technique. If you had no other way to accomplish a task than to use a certain piece of software, then forbidding the inclusion of that software into a product designed to accomplish that task would be crippling the product, right?

      In this case, the necessary software is the Amazon website.

      So.

      You want a crippled product?

      You want a link to a page that has the links?

      You want a PDF?

      What do you want? Because you told me all sorts of things I don’t need to know. What you DID NOT TELL ME is what I need to know.

  30. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPad

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: 9

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: Well, that depends upon a few things that are not clear. One, is the link an active hyperlink or simply a typed out address? If the link is active, are they only complaining because it is an active hyperlink. In other words, could you leave the address in but not have it be an active hyperlink? Then of course, you run into the other issue with this. A non-active link in a DRM book is practically worthless since you cannot copy text from a DRMed book in iBooks.

    Then there is other issue that nobody has mentioned. I personally hate web addresses in how-to books. Especially addresses to sites that are not under the author’s control. You mention that these resources are vital to the lesson, well that is great, but can you guarantee that next week or next year Amazon will not make some change that will make those links bad? No, you cannot.

    Therefore, I really think that what you need to do is make either a linked PDF on your own site, or make a links page on your site. And I would suggest that you do this for all of your copies of this book, not just the one on the iBookstore. This helps insure to the user that the links they are following are current, and it should make it easier for you, the author, to keep the links current and relevant. I am assuming that it is easier for you to make changes on your own site than to make changes and resubmit a new version of your book to these bookstores.

    WHY: While I completely agree that this is a stupid move by Apple, it doesn’t bother me as much as it seems to bother others. Perhaps, because I refuse to pay more then a few dollars for any book with DRM, which makes it a rental of undetermined length instead of a purchase. Because of this personal belief I have bought very few books from the iBookstore (a few children’s books and one from Scalzi that is DRM free due to recent intelligent moves by Tor) and none from Amazon or B&N. I have bought pretty much all of my books from the authors directly or from sites like Baen that don’t use DRM.

    • The course is not offered as DRM. It’s DRM-free on Apple, same as on Amazon, B&N, and my site.

      Link rot is always a problem. As long as there’s an Internet, which is hope is for a very long time, it’s going to be a problem.

      The alternative, however, is to have the links included on member pages. Member pages require people to create memberships, and I would like the course to be complete (for those who don’t want the downloadable, printable worksheets or the upgrades) in and of themselves, without requiring the writer to come to my site.

  31. Holly, under the rules stated, I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I believe that the refusal to license MAC OS is a major reason Apple’s computer products remain in the 4 – 7% of the total market range. Conversely, I think that Bill Gate’s decision to offer MS Office for both platforms had as much to do with maintaining MS dominance as building Windows did.

    Looking at the responses, I think that most of your readers would be comfortable with buying epub or Kindle versions for their iPads.

    • I also have to snicker when I read comments like this.

      As a business person would you honestly trade Apple’s current position, less than 10% market share and over 35% profit share of the total computer market. Limit that to the supra-thousand dollar computer market and Apple has close to 75% market share and over 90% of the profit share.

      Market share is only important if you are interested in maintaining control of a market through lock-in (see Microsoft Office) or you are monetizing something collaterally related to the product instead of the product itself (see Google’s search business model).

      No, I am sure that Apple is more than happy with the way things have worked out. Of course, that being said, pride comes before the fall. And the iBookstore and its idiotic policies do reveal one of Apple’s major weaknesses. They are great to their customers but treat their developers like crap.

    • In this instance, I’m not interested in what the majority wants. The majority wants Kindle versions, or the versions from my site, which are selling neck and neck right now.

      I want to make sure I have options available for the minority. As I’ve noted (many times) elsewhere, I prefer to think of folks as individuals, not as voting blocs.

  32. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPhone and iPad (Use Nook/Kindle readers for my iMac and MacBook Pro)

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: Since before iOS.

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: ditch iBooks – it’s not worth the effort.

    WHY: I rarely buy from iBooks. The content is exceedingly thin and rarely worth the effort of browsing through to find anything to read. Stay with a multi platform product like Nook or Kindle – you will read a wider audience and iOS users can still use the products with the other apps.

    • This isn’t Either/Or. This is This AND That. 😀

      The first ten lessons of the course are already available on my site with one price getting you the PDF, the .mobi(KINDLE) and the .epub. It’s ALSO available on Amazon.com (KINDLE) AND Barnes & Noble (NOOK).

      So iBooks is an “in addition to” option, not an “instead of” option.

  33. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: MacBook Pro & iPad

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: 3

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: 1. If you want to expend energy w/ iBookstore customer service to review this, do so. I would probably send them an email to engage in conversation, but not ‘hold my breath’. 2. I personally would replace that section in the book with something like this: “Due to iBookstore’s current policy, competitor links are not allowed. A crucial technique in this module includes visiting a competitor site. I have provided a link to the material you need for this section both here ( ), and in the resources section to ensure you have everything you need to complete this course successfully. The password needed to acces this information is: ‘sillypolicy’ (LOL. jk)

    WHY: Because I LOVE your courses, and I think it’s wonderful that you are providing them cross-platform. For me this issue is not something that would cause me to leave the iBookstore platform, rather I would simply provide another avenue for customers to access the information and be done with it.

  34. Device: iPad iPhone Mac
    Years: 10
    I’ve been waiting 3 years to take this course and financies finally allow for it. Its an investment. That being said, I’d follow whatever instructions to get the needed material. Downloading a PDF is not that much effort, especially since I tend to print out hard copies of instructions I wish to make notations on. Thanks!

  35. Apple Customer: Over 20 years
    Hardware: MacBook Pro, iPad, iPhone

    I do buy books from the iBookstore. They don’t have everything I want but they are my first choice. I like the features of the books on the iBook reader.

    I would put the PDF link but also pursue the issue with Apple.

  36. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: PC

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: 5 years

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO:

    This has probably been an automated process, in which your books are being scanned by a computer. I would just change the link in the book, so the computer will miss it. For example:
    http://www.amazone.com -> www and then Ama.zo.n and then off course type com. This is a bit cryptic because of regulation-issues.

  37. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS:
    ipad 2
    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER:
    1
    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO:
    Omit the lesson from the Apple Store. Keep the content of the lesson useful and true to yourself as a teacher and writer.
    WHY: Writers will understand that there is a lesson 6. You may need to post about this in your blog to refer to for inquiries. As a writer and reader of your fiction, if I want lesson 6 I will search for it off the apple store and get it in another format. Amazon Kindle on ipad is easy to use.
    Thank you and Good luck.

  38. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS:ipad

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER:4

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: It annoys me to have to say this but I would just pull the links and put them on a pdf. If people want the information they will download it. By lesson 6 they will value the info you provide and do it. If they don’t then it wasn’t important to them. You do a great job of providing information and research for your students but people can be responsible for themselves and push a couple of extra buttons. It is annoying to have to do it but I would make it as easy as possible and forget it since it is the smallest part of your market.

    WHY: I sort of already answered this, sorry. I don’t buy on ibooks anymore because they don’t always have what I am looking for even though the books look nicer and the features are better. Overall the books seem more expensive. You do a great job teaching us and we really do appreciate your hard work. Thank you!

  39. If you link to an external PDF and people don’t download… that’s their choice.

  40. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPad

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: 3

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: Downloadable PDF

    WHY: Apple is notoriously hard to deal with on issues like this and getting them to change their policy for you would be a herculean task. That doesnt mean i want to see you disappear from the iTunes store though. The PDF seems like the most workable option that will preserve your lessons and allow you to stay in the Apple world.

  41. Device: iPad, Mac

    Years: 2

    What you should do: If I buy on one of these platforms, it’s for Kindle. Ditto anyone who said iBooks selection sucks. Could you have a link to your site in the book that then links to the things you would like to give your readers? A resource link for the lesson? Unless of course they also consider your website competition, in which case, eff ’em. You don’t have to compromise your principles for their business practices.

  42. Devices: ipad
    Years with apple: 3
    What you should do: pull all your books from ibooks
    Why?: there are enough alternatives to ibooks. I never buy anything from ibooks, because they often don’t have what I’m looking for. While I’m not a great fan of Kindle (I don’t understand why they can’t display pagenumbers, the percentages and locations are senseless to me…) but I have yet to find a book they don’t offer.
    If you’re worried about the availability of your books to readers from outside the US, I live in the netherlands and have no issue with ordering from Amazon.
    Apple should get it into their heads that their arrogance is costing them customers!

  43. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: The iPad.

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: Have only purchased the iPad at this time, which would make it a year or so.

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: I say email the highest level customer service representative you can find, and share your story/problem with him/her.

    WHY: I see no point in pulling your work prematurely. This sounds like some marketing person’s nonsense, and you should not discount the possibility that not everyone at Apple is on the same page. Once you’ve exhausted all reasonable opportunities to resolve this conflict intelligently, then I would say it’s better to pull those particular works rather than allow Apple to force you to sell a crippled product, which hurts you far more than it harms them.

  44. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPad and iPhone.

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: 16 years+

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: Include the Amazon info as a linked downloadable PDF. When people are reading on their device using iBooks they will be able to download the supplement directly through the link to your site and open and read it within the iBooks app.

    WHY: It’s barely any hassle for the end user and will help keep the lesson complete without invalidating Apple’s rules. Definitely better than having no lesson. Good luck with whatever you decide!

  45. ===================================

    APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPad

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: 6

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: Don’t pull the links.

    WHY: I avoid iBooks, iTunes, and the App Store if the content can be obtained elsewhere for exactly this reason. Apple’s attempts to establish a closed ecosystem are bad for content creators and, ultimately, for content consumers.

    Apple policies or not, it’s your name on the book. If you feel the product is substantially weaker without the links, you should either leave the links in or offer a discount for the link-free version.
    ===================================

  46. ===================================

    APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPad

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: 12 years

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: Remove all content from iBooks. Plain and simple. This is corporate censorship.

    WHY: This is freaking unbelievable. Apple should stick to what it does well, and that is great hardware. Censorship? Apple does not “do” content well, and this is a great example. the iBookstore is already frustrating in that it won’t let you read your content on a Mac. (Yes! On a Mac!) With Kindle and BN you can read it anywhere.

    But at the proverbial end of the day, this is about Apple trying to censor your content.
    ===================================

    • There is no such thing as corporate censorship. See the added “CENSORSHIP INFO” at the bottom of the post above.

      Totally agree with you, though, that if Apple wants to remain the powerhouse it has become, it needs to revisit its closed-market principles on content.

  47. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPhone, with kindle

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: >20years (with interruptions)

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: Remove ALL your lessons from iBook. If there is an appropiate state authority in the US (Federal Trade Commission?): File a complaint if you have fun with legal stuff…

    WHY:
    You don’t sell much there, reduces your workload. You could do this even if no extra work for censorship adjustments would be necessary (pareto principle). Hopefully, enough authors do it to make iBooks uninteresting for Apple users. Amazon is not very much better, it’s jusr the lesser evil 🙂 About the complaint: A single complaint is not important, but if enough people do it…

    • At the point where you bring in lawyers, you’ve already lost. This is not anything where lawyers have any business sticking their noses anyway. And this is NOT CENSORSHIP. Please see the added “CENSORSHIP INFO” added to the post above.

  48. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: iPads (yes I have 2)

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: over 10

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: Don’t bother with iBooks. If you can file an appeal, do so (although I don’t expect that to do anything).

    WHY: I’ll tell you my opinion and let you take it as just that, I doubt I speak for all iBooks users. I rarely buy ebooks from the iBook store because it is impossible to read them on anything but an iPad or iPhone — you can’t even read a book from the iBook store on a Mac and I find that insane. I have bought a couple of books from there only because they contained content (video and interactive components) unique to iBooks. I would never want to get a ‘sanitized’ copy of an ebook — it would make me angry.

    Even though an iBook ebook can’t be read on anything but iOS device, it is very simple to put an epub or pdf into iBooks (as long as it doesn’t have DRM). I do that all the time. In my mind, the iPad/iPhone customer is much better off buying a DRM free book which they can easily move to iBooks (or any other reader app) on their device while still being able to read it on their computer.

    So, if apple isn’t going to play nice with you, just include in your advertising that the ePubs can be loaded into iBooks.

    • Apple never has the book I’m looking for.

      I have an iPad and an iPhone, and because their selection is simply dismal, I’ve stopped even checking first to see if they have the book I want—though when I GOT the iPad, one of the things I wanted it for was to read on.

      About a year ago, I spent the thousand bucks to buy a stack of 100 ISBNS only because Apple requires them to present work on its store, for the simple reason that I believe readers are best served when they have options…and keeping options open means presenting my work on all platforms that allow me to do so professionally.

      At this point, I’m studying Apple’s behavior, and thinking perhaps I won’t drop another thousand bucks for the stack of ISBNS I’d need to offer How To Revise Your Novel, Create A World Clinic, and my novels on the platform. After all, it’s a lot of money, and I can certainly put it to good use elsewhere.

      But I need to hear back from more folks before I decide.

      • I think you will be giving iPad/iPhone owners plenty of options to read your work without selling them through iBooks. Many, many apps read ebooks (that don’t have DRM) no matter where you bought them.

  49. APPLE DEVICE(S) ON WHICH I READ iBOOKS: Macbook Pro

    YEARS AS AN APPLE CUSTOMER: 5

    WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD DO: Personally, I think you should not sell them on ibooks. People can download the free kindle or nook app for any of the apple computers, phones, ipads, etc., and buy their lesson from Amazon or BN or from you directly. It will not impede them at all.

    WHY: Frankly, what Apple is doing here is censorship. Those links are IN your book itself. It’s not like you are advertising for people to go to Amazon and buy stuff there. In fact, I think Apple is doing a better job convincing people to shop elsewhere than you ever could. If people give in and remove content from their books, where does it end? What about a novel where a character uses something other than an iphone?

    I have bought lessons from you in the past, and plan on buying the HTTS course very soon :).

    Melanie

    • Melanie,

      How are you reading books bought on the iBook store on a Mac? I’ve not been able to figure it out. It would change my willingness to buy books from the iBook store, but not a crippled version.

      • Lisa you are absolutely right–you can’t read ibooks on the Mac. My whirling dervish of a son made me look like a flake again 😉 –I have read them on my phone. My brain was on my computer, so that’s what I typed! So sorry for the confusion!!

    • Apple CANNOT CENSOR. Apple is a business, and CENSORSHIP is the sole domain of governments who own armies and can enforce bans on speech and the presentation of content at the point of a gun.

      See the CENSORSHIP INFO I’ve added at the bottom of post above.

    • Hi, Kimi,

      I don’t KNOW how much money they’ll lose out on.

      First, I just put the first ten lessons of the course up on iBookstore, so I have no hard data regarding my own sales to offer.

      Second, Apple iBooks is my smallest market by a enormous margin—so while this issue affects me ethically, I don’t anticipate it ever being a major financial issue for me. If I’m looking at it that way, Apple, who is making multi-billions of dollars a month, is most assuredly going to look at it that way.

      This is one instance where it isn’t about the money for either party involved.

      Third, I have no idea whether this is an issue that bothers other iBooks customers, or just me, so it might not be an issue at all. If iBooks readers don’t care whether they get crippled versions of products, I’m not going to make a big deal about removing the links. (It bugs the SHIT out of me, of course.)

      That’s what I’m trying to find out here before I make any decision.