HomeWriting LifeHow to say “I was wrong.”


How to say “I was wrong.” — 75 Comments

  1. Hi, Holly and All!

    It has been a long time since I have posted, either here or my blog. However, a good, free epub editor is Sigil. However, it is not a word processor either.

  2. You’ve still got it wrong, Holly–you’ve even got the name wrong (it’s “iBooks Author”, not “iBook Author”).

    There’s no need to perform gymnastics to avoid the EULA. Apple isn’t trying to claim rights to publish your work–only the rights to publish IBOOKS-FORMATTED WORKS ON THE IBOOKSTORE.

    It’s stunningly simple, and easy to understand. Apple made a tool that creates a singular format, and that format is designed only for their iBookstore. In other words, their only intention is to prevent folks from using their free tool to take this unique format and sell it elsewhere. Why? Because Apple is trying to make a product (interactive textbooks published on iTunesU and the iBookstore), not provide free tools and formats for competitors.

    But even given all of that, folks will *still* misunderstand, unfortunately.

  3. In light of your third bullet, I think it might be important to point out, that if you want to avoid duplication of effort, and you intend to make your book available in .iBook format via any venue OTHER than Apple, then you may want to elect to use another tool to create the .iBook format of your book.

    If the objective is to “present your work equally and simultaneously in multiple markets and formats” then we might presume it is a good idea to not limit yourself to using only apple to market to ipad users. In that case I don’t see the value in doing the same work twice (assembling/formatting etc) with two different tools, instead of just using some other tool that does not restrict your venue of sale to create the .iBook version.

    I still don’t like apple attempting to restrict competition in this way, but as long as they are not charging for the software, and as long as the ipad will accept books created in that format with other tools, well then it’s not like we can’t get around it.

    Now if Apple were to make it so that the iPad would accept books in that format only if created by their tool, and continue to restrict the venue of sale in the EULA (free tool or not), then I’d say it would be time to be on the warpath.

  4. So you were wrong. You saw your error and corrected it and have profited from the experience and moved on.

    I am certain someone else said it first, but I’m damned if I remember who, and I don’t have a copy of Bartlet’s lying [laying?] around, so I am reduced to a poor paraphrase:

    When you think you have ceased making errors, you have in fact ceased learning.

  5. I dont really have an opinion on this issue as I dont fully understand it so I wont pretend to. However I wanted to say both thankyou and well done for admitting that you were wrong in such an honest and public way. This shouldnt be rare enough to be something worth congratulations but unfotunately it is. Thankyou for reminding me that my respect for you as a person as well as a writer is well-earned.

  6. The comment I’d left on your previous post was nothing more than my agreeing with you, based upon your interpretation of the EULA. While I read the article you had linked to, I knew nothing about the software. In fact, I’d never even heard of it before. For that reason alone, it was interesting learning about iBook Author’s existence.

    Thanks for clarifying iBook Author’s intended purpose in this post. I’d have to learn more about it before making any decision regarding whether I’d use it or not myself, but I’ve got a lot of other things I need to learn before I can even concern myself with this piece of software.

    • I have links to other software and services that do similar things farther down in this thread of replies.

      Self-publishing is challenging. Learn as much as you can, but don’t wait forever to take the plunge. You can learn a lot as you go.

  7. Also ensure that any metadata points to the original source so as to safeguard your work in the future. Modern media corporations are working very diligently to ban anything they feel will hurt their bottom line, especially in their so-called “rights” given in software “licenses.” Because they don’t want to sell you the product, but instead license it, they are working to eliminate the first-sale doctrine as well. For someone with a good legal team, these changes in principle mean, they can sue you and remove all rights you have to do anything with the product they don’t like. Apple is bad for this, forming lawsuits on the slightest hint of infringement and the new laws (right now in the USA but also in other countries,) backed by some big players in the media industry, are moving to make infringement guilty until proven innocent, it is for this reason alone I would recommend having the metadata show the original product. Its easy to do and might save you a lot of cash later on.

  8. I don’t necessarily think you were wrong. I do agree the target for the iBooks Author software is the iPad, and the most likely place for sales of that software is the iBooks store. There are (or were) ways to bring books into iBooks via iTunes file exchange (sync cord)–I think I’ve done it once, but it was a hassle. (I guess if you offer your book for free, that’s how it gets installed.)

    Certainly, Apple can choose what products they will allow into their iBooks distribution outlet, and they certainly owe you nothing if they don’t choose to carry it.

    I disagree about that being the only venue for sales, but it’s certainly their right to make that a condition (policing it could be interesting, but they are probably willing to make the effort). It’s my choice if I want to accept those terms or not. I can’t look at the software yet, because I have not upgraded to Lion OS, and I’m not in a hurry to do so.

    • They aren’t making it the only venue for sales. If they made it the only venue for sales of your work, I’d still have my books pulled from the site and I’d still be recommending my students not sell their work through the iBookstore.

      You own the rights to your work and can sell it anywhere you choose. You simply can’t sell it in the iBooks Author format. (It wouldn’t work on anything but the iPad anyway.)

  9. Just an afterthought…

    As I read it the EULA is very clear.

    1. If you make an iBook, it’s Apple’s forever.
    2. The EULA prohibits iBooks from being resold, shared, or published in any way as printed copies.

    I don’t think your mea culpa is warranted. You were right in your first take on this. It is a bargain an author makes with the devil.

    • Okay, let me run through this for you in specific detail, so you understand why I reversed my previous position.

      From Apple’s EULA including a definition of “THE WORK”

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

      Understand—I’m not a lawyer. I am a writer who has pored word by word over every contract I’ve signed with every publisher I’ve ever had, and over the changes my agent made before that contract hit my hot little hands. So I have experience reading contracts that apply to me. A lawyer might take my interpretation here and tell me I’m full of shit. But I’ll take that chance.

      THEM: If you charge a fee for any book or other work you generate using this software (a “Work”),

      ME: If you are charging people for the product you create with our product

      THEM: you may only sell or distribute such Work through Apple (e.g., through the iBookstore)

      ME: you may only sell or distribute THE WORK YOU CREATED ON THIS SOFTWARE through Apple.

      This is where understanding definitions comes in handy, and why I require people writing on this weblog to post their definitions when using words in ways that don’t fit the real definition of the word.

      It’s also why it matters that this is a single-platform, limited-use ebook formatter, and NOT A WORD PROCESSOR. A word processor creates something that is intended to be used for original creation of original content. Such a clause on a word processor would be a rights grab.

      In the first part of the sentence, “THE WORK” is defined as “that which has been created on this software.” That is its sole and limiting definition. It does not apply to any version of the work created on other software. You have to hold both parts of that clause together. You cannot separate them. If you separate them, you misunderstand the clause. As written, it is a single, self-limiting clause that makes clear the version to which Apple claims an interest in is the version created on their software—and their software creates a version that can only be used on one specific platform (the iPad) which they have created and own.

      THEM: and such distribution will be subject to a separate agreement with Apple.

      ME: If they’re going to pay you, you have to sign their contract. Which you have to do to sell ANYTHING on ANYONE’s platform.

  10. I agree with some of the others here Holly. Anyone can make a mistake and certainly if the EULA isn’t clear about what it means by some terms then it is prone to being misinterpreted. More important than that though is that it does take a big person to admit in public that they made an error and even then you didn’t make excuses or rationalize the reason for having made the error. I wonder how many of us could say the same. I have a feeling that many of us (if we were in the same position) would be prone to making excuses for why we had done so by pointing out perceived flaws in the actual EULA. You didn’t do that though. Instead you took responsibility for having made the mistake. Being an adult isn’t merely a matter of age, but of taking responsibility for one’s own actions. Something that some people never do manage. Well done. 🙂

  11. Well, I’m not convinced that your principal argument was wrong. You argued that the word ‘created’ gathered in the meaning of ‘originated’ and clearly Apple meant it to mean ‘compiled’. Left as it is it could still be a weasel word haunting future arguments with Apple over legal rights to copy. If Apple had been clearer in its meaning of ‘created’ neither you nor hundreds of other folks would not have come to the very same conclusion that once material was entered into the ibook authoring app (and the word ‘author’ is critically important) then Apple owned authorship and all rights to copy.

    I think your new insight into the nature of a word processor does nothing to alter that original concern.

    I think that if Apple were to change its EULA to substitute the word ‘compiled’ for ‘created’ it might help. However, I still think that Apple’s intention was to claim the right to copy, market, distribute, profit and lay claim to ownership was manifestly clear in the EULA. Bear in mind that many good legal minds around the globe thought exactly as you did – and still do.

    • Their wording is not making them any friends. If they’re smart, they’ll correct it. They’re already a minor submarket in e-publishing.

    • Typically media companies operate on the presumption of ownership of your work after having participated in the creation of a work, usually through recording (either video, audio, or both.) For a reference look at musicians who have been sued by their recording studio for sharing their own works. The recording studio may have a clause in their contract that signs over the copyright, for a set time, as a condition to use their studio. This ultimately screws over the artist, forcing them into small cuts of profit where instead they could be making much larger sums. It MAY be that Apple is attempting to use this model with their software. Again I recommend ensuring that proof exists of its creation prior to using this software to edit it. For those who disagree I say, why not, it can’t hurt and it could save you a lot of money.

      • And I’d agree. Do the original work in a word processor and on whatever mixed media software you have (making sure you’re using commercial versions for those that require it).

        Keep your original work on your hard drive and at least one offsite backup, and maybe in a printed format, too.

  12. This is good, Holly. There was so much kerfuffle at first. After SOPA/PIPA, I think everyone was spring-loaded to outrage. I wasn’t outraged, so I figured maybe I just didn’t understand. Thanks for getting everything straight and for standing up and telling us. TX

  13. I don’t think I’m going to be needing the iBooks Author, but it is good to hear that they’re not quite as restrictive as first thought. Having more information available for clarification is a plus, as some folks might still miss that they can’t publish their works on any other format than iPad at this point using the current ‘packaging program.’ It’s may not be a deal-breaker for a lot of people, but it’s definitely something worth noting.
    I appreciate you taking a stand, as well as continuing to listen and research an issue if doubts arise. Thanks!

  14. I really don’t think you were wrong, as a matter of basic principle. But that is because I consider software and hardware to be two separate and distinct things, and I do not consider that any hardware manufacturer has the right, under any circumstances, to limit my use of software on the hardware I have purchased.

    I understand what you are saying with the retraction. But in real terms, the same principle is no different. Say for example… I need to make a business presentation in PowerPoint. I use photos I took with my camera and dressed up with Gimp. I write up some information and assemble the data on OpenOffice. I use something like Qcad to draw up some technical illustrations to include.

    After all that, I take my photos, text, numeric data, and illustrations. I input them into MS Office Photoshop and prepare an animated presentation. It turns out to be such a hit, that people tell me I should market it as an educational resource. So I decide to offer it for sale online.

    SO. Do I owe Microsoft some money?

    Btw. Would MS have the right to forbid you to run my presentation on a MAC? What happens if someone hacks the new Apple program and makes it run on a PC? Since OSX is derived from BSD, which is NOT a proprietary system. I consider it the height of hypocrisy for Apple to get possessive about software. Not when their own operating system is benefiting from the work of the open source community.

    I think you were right to begin with, just as a matter of principle.

      • Maybe. But what happens if someone takes the basic OS, then replicates the iPad interface so that it works on a regular PC? That way you *could* use the “work” on another platform. Things like that are done routinely in the open source world. In fact, I would be surprised if someone were not working on it right now. If someone does come out with a free version of Apple’s iPad software that runs on a PC laptop, or even a standard MAC laptop, does Apple still have the right to limit the use to which one chooses to put that modified hardware?

        This is not theoretical. XBox was hacked so that it ran Linux, and Microsoft promptly took some hackers to court trying it make it illegal for them to modify the hardware that they had purchased. I could easily foresee Apple doing something similar, if a clever group of programmers managed to duplicate their cash cow iPad system. If that happened, would the EULA that you said is pretty much irrelevant to anyone but iPad users…. still be irrelevant?

        Or am I misunderstanding things. I am slow and legally challenged. All I know is how to tear down electronic things and stick them back together.

        • R.C.,

          I must say, without going into details, I agree with your overall concept. This is a common problem in this day and age of digital media. Everyone involved wants a cut of your profits, using contracts to bind people into terrible positions. My question is, if they can do this, why do they still charge huge sums for their program? Is it because they do not trust you to give them a percentage? Do they just want to squeeze every last drop? Its the point of corporate being, increase the bottom line.

        • Well, prominent features of the iPad interface are being imitated, at least it looks that way, on the Ubuntu Linux distribution. It’s called Unity GUI. Once you work with it you see that there are lots of differences which make it substantially different, but Apple and Micro$oft fought a lawsuit about the general idea of using windows on personal computers decades back. No matter that Xerox had inspired both of them or that MIT developed its own version (X Windows).

          So, as to iTextbooks, lets say I have created a course in something, taught and refined it for several years, distributing the text to my students on paper, showing the videos and images in class. Now I combine them with iBooks Author, and try to sell it on iTunes store, but for whatever reason, Apple doesn’t want a textbook on “Structural Analysis and Design of Unobtanium Oxythoride Fuel Systems for Starships” (who would, actually?). So, I repackage the book for Nook. But will Barnes and Noble not sell it because it’s concerned that it’s substantially like the iTunes one and that there are copyright issues? Can I convince their lawyer that it’s not?

          Even more interesting, dissection of an “iBooks Author” iBook shows that its internal format appears to be substantially identical, that is the same, as the ePub version 3 (ePub3) internal format. There are just a few places and a few pieces of info where the two formats differ. I expect that it will take minimal work to extract and convert from one format to another, and that not much of the file may require conversion. Will an author have to prove to Apple that the ePub3 version was created from the sources and not translated from the iBook Author format before taking it to another publisher and selling elsewhere? If it must be done in a court of law, it could get very expensive.

          There are a bunch of questions like this that make me refrain from using iBooks Author, and make me very, very wary of publishing on iTunes before they are definitively answered.

          W. Taylor
          “In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

      • One more short follow up. Please forgive me.

        From Wikipedia (with apologies for the long quotes, but I think it’s important):

        Like other iOS devices, the iPad can be “jailbroken”, allowing applications and programs that are not authorized by Apple to run on the device….

        Apple claims jailbreaking voids the factory warranty on the device in the United States even though jailbreaking is legal…

        The iPad, released in April 2010, was first jailbroken in May 2010 with the Spirit jailbreak for iOS version 3.1.2..

        I figured someone was doing it.

        …One of the main reasons for jailbreaking is to expand the feature set limited by Apple and its App Store…

        Users install these programs for purposes including personalization and customization of the interface,[3] adding desired features and fixing annoyances,[4] and making development work on the device easier by providing access to the filesystem and command-line tools.[5][6].

        …Some users look to software outside the App Store to express opposition to Apple’s censorship of content through the app approval process: in early 2010, Apple banned an app submitted by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, Mark Fiore, because it “ridiculed public figures”, in violation of Section 3.3.14 of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement. Apple later called Fiore and asked him to resubmit his app for approval.[7] In late 2010, Apple banned the use of apps that allowed users to donate money to non-profit organization and charities…

        The current issue involves an Apple program that restricts the use of output. But the whole principle involves the ongoing attempt by large corporations to enshrine the concept that software and hardware are inseparable. Apple, Sony, MS, etc. are all on a campaign to convince us (more to the point, convince lawmakers) that hardware and software are two sides of the same coin.

        Therefore, (the large corporations argue) since you cannot truly own software but only license it… you cannot truly own hardware either. Thus MS was able to argue in court with a straight face that it shodl be illegal for someone to solder a chip onto the motherboard of an XBox that they had bought, simply because it would permit the owner to put the hardware to a new use. Thus, Apple is able to maintain, that jailbreaking their system voids teh warranty, despite the fact that it is perfectly legal to do so.

        (Again, I note that Apple’s operating system(s) are based on open source. They took free software, filed off the serial numbers, pasted a proprietary GUI on top of it, and claimed it as their own.)

        That way the corporations retain permanent control of both software and hardware, they retain permanent control of the uses to which you are permitted to put both, and the cash stream keeps flowing.

        Yes. I am a paranoid neurotic. I acknowledge it.

        • Well, Mann, you know what they say… even paranoid (neurotics) have enemies. This doesn’t make you wrong, though. In fact, even a cursory look at the evidence show that it very much supports your claim. It isn’t absurd to think that someone thought, “Hey, if we changed sales to licenses we would be able to make more money by enforcing what the end user is legally allowed to do with our product.” I’m worried about this because the people developing laws about these things also think digital products and material products are the same as evidenced by their constant comparison of fraudulent drugs to digital copyright infringement. One is a small but potentially lethal issue whereas the other is a large issue but proper marketing has been shown to negate it as a problem altogether, in fact, some smart/innovative artists have been able to successfully use this method to make LOTS of money.

          My point is, what happens when you can no longer by bread, you lease it for consumption but you can only use it for personal consumption, if you have people over, that is illegal. It sounds far-fetched but what would happen if it did come about? Some new laws are setting precedents that could cause this to come about. Fortunately, so far, the corporate culture surrounding the food industry is more concerned with the washing of hands than limiting how you can eat your cereal.

          In the end it is important for us to protest laws and vote against people we disagree with. We have the right, some countries do not give their citizens that ability. We should either use it or accept that our countries are going to be run by the rich, a very small percentage of the population anymore.

    • This is the same guy (just one guy, not “others in the industry”) whose article started me on this. He’s still saying the same thing. I’ve come to the conclusion, based on everything I’ve presented here, that he’s wrong.

  15. I started a thread about this on the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction forum. When I found out the apparent copyright-grab wasn’t, I posted the correct information and a link from there to here. I posted the same on the discussion thread of Writer Beware at SFWA.

    • Writers have to watch out. I’m glad this wasn’t the rights-grab I mistook it for. But every EULA at every company (and every change of terms) warrants a real in-depth read of the terminology.

      Thanks for your note.

  16. Congrats on your retraction and your openness in doing so.
    I too was horrified when I read your original post and posted your link on Facebook – now like you, I need to put matters right and let them know about this.
    It’s a good reminder to me to investigate thoroughly – although I thought I had done so – reading their small print carefully. I need to realise that the that I am not sufficiently knowledgeable in ‘techno’ to get the full picture.
    Thanks again Holly and will be posting this link plus an explanation to Facebook.

  17. Gold stars for you, Holly, for your initial post giving us all a heads-up. Gold stars with diamond tips for posting this response. I’ve been a Mac-hound for a thousand years, while most of my design clients are PC folks, with the exception of all the iPhones and iPads in their possession. However, I do not give carte blanche to Apple, no matter how proud I am of their accomplishments or how much I love their product line. I was disturbed by your first post, and before I could look into it further, I was happy to have my faith restored with your second post. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Hi there, Isn’t it a wonderful feeling to live in a place where you can admit you made an incorrect ‘call’ and not loose you head or Face!
    Keep smiling,

  19. Hi, Holly,
    I thought the issue people had with Apple over the iAuthor software wasn’t whether or not the software worked or what it worked for or on, but that it WAS exclusive and once you created the content in iAuthor, Apple had exclusive rights to sell it on your behalf. You cannot sell it on Amazon, B&N etc. as well. Even so, Apple has the right to refuse to distribute your content, but you may not distribute it to the other markets, which leaves you with no outlet for the content you created. I didn’t see anything in your letter addressing this issue.

    • That isn’t the case. It was my initial take, but I was wrong. You can’t sell it in the iBooks Author format…but you couldn’t have anyway, because that format only runs on the iPad. You retain all rights to your work, and can process it in any other format you choose and put it anyplace you like.

      As for Apple’s right to refuse to put your book in the iBookstore, Apple, Amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble all exercise that right. Your work has to be approved after it’s submitting, and the companies reserve the right to remove it.

      You cannot force a business to support something that would destroy itself. Asserting the right to force porn, or anti-Apple diatribes, or anti-Amazon diatribes, or whatever, onto the platforms that support this work would be criminal. And their refusal to accept everything is neither censorship, nor wrong. You can always take your work elsewhere.

      ONLY GOVERNMENTS can censor work, and the First Amendment stands to keep the GOVERNMENT in check, not individuals or businesses.

  20. Holly,

    I want to thank you for your “mistake.” I actually learned so much from you and some of those who had information to post under comments. I am new to publishing my own work and am constantly looking for how/where/why that will help me know the best way(s) to distribute my books.

    Thanks again! Being “wrong” can be a really, really great thing!

  21. Well you were wrong …and you were right in a way too. Some people responding to your post seemed to have completely missed the point. As either an end user or in your case the “publisher”, we should question, comment and give feedback to companies as to the use of their products. We are after all the paying customers. If someone takes the time to read the fine print or use a product and they don’t like something they are fully entitled to say so in whatever way they chose.
    After all we now live in a world of constant product review and evaluation by the online community. Although you turned out to have made a mistake as to the letter of apples “law” in this case. Your heart was in the right place thanks for looking out for the rest of us.

  22. A friend forwarded your e-mail version of this mea culpa this morning. I’m glad to see you have revised your opinion.

    You were certainly not alone in your misinterpretation go the EULA and its implications. There has been a lot of hysteria circulating on the Web the last few days and its influence is widespread.

    I decided to do some research and try out the application.

    As I testify in my blog post today, I’m impressed with the usability of iBooks Author and its features.

    I agree it is most useful to creators of non-fiction, with related multi-media. That’s what I do, so I’m eager to offer books “built” with this software.

    I’ll also create other formats, including PDF, which can be exported from iBooks Author.

  23. Holly, you always rock. I love your spirit, the fact that you wanted to ‘warn your neighbor’ and the fact that you could admit that you were wrong. It’s always good to take a good hard look at anything that we might agree to or sign our names to BEFORE we actually make such a commitment, so no harm done. I commend you!

  24. Thank you, Holly, not only for saying you were wrong, but for explaining all of this.
    The idea of self-publishing scares me to death and I don’t know where to start, but your honest and straightforward opinions are helping me wade through all the info out there.
    Thanks again.

  25. Since the original post, I’ve read each comment, and followed each link. I want to thank those that helped explain the problem. And I salute Holly as well, for admitting where she erred, and making things right. We humans don’t always have all the information at first, but through sharing and group research, things become known properly.

    And I do have to apologize for being one of those emotional posters. I saw what I thought was there to see, and bridled at the apparent greediness of Apple. I thought Steve wouldn’t have wanted that, and how the company had taken a wrong path. Thank God there are brighter bulbs, and more dedicated researchers than I to get the rest of us to see what is really there. And thank you, Holly, for having this discussion where people can read what is there to be read.

  26. That’s one of the things I like about you, Holly. You are not afraid to admit it, if you think you’re wrong. There are a LOT of folks who wouldn’t have recanted when they found an error.

  27. I read the post Friday and I too, spent the weekend reading both sides of the debate. On your blog, as well as others. I will admit that the debate didn’t concern me much, as I do not use Apple products (although I would like to try them), and I don’t have a need for my works to be interactive, (Although an interactive horror book could be interesting…hmmm.) but I was offended by the principal of it.

    Like you, my initial knee-jerk reaction was wrong, and I understand better the real situation. So don’t feel bad, Holly, you were not alone, and there are a few people I will have to tell that to today. Kudos to you for coming back on and admitting the mistake so quickly. If anything my opinion of your integrity has only increased.

    After my research

  28. I must admit you did puzzle me, Holly. But you aren’t the only one who has misunderstood the EULA–only I suspect (in one particular case anyway) the misunderstanding was deliberate. I hope you make lots of money from the iBooks version of your books. Or any other version for that matter. I look forward to reading them.

  29. Love the sheep!

    I never fail to be impressed by your business ethics; as a person who believes what is shown in public often reflects the private, this says a great deal to your personal beliefs as well. Thanks so much for the clarification, but more importantly thanks for the lesson that even when we make a mistake, it isn’t the end of the world, but sometimes the beginning of a fresh start.

  30. Thank you. That makes a great deal more sense. I’d like to add a reminder to authors who have given exclusivity for a promotional opportunity to uncheck that little box for automatic renewal. It’s not yet time to decide if it still makes sense for you.

  31. It’s hard to admit one made an error, and I admire you for having the intestinal fortitude to publicly admit being wrong. It is nice to know that the EULA is no so draconian as originally presented. This does not, however, make me any more inclined to spend my money on Apple products. For the records, I’ve noticed that when I install any program which requires Quicktime to be installed on my computer (a PC using Windows), I invariably have problems with my computer as Quicktime ALWAYS wants to take over anything to do with media. And rooting out where Quicktime has strung its tentacles is very difficult indeed. Many years ago, Quicktime was the best option for media. Now, it’s a pain in the lower pelvic region and I avoid it.

    • No, that wasn’t the issue. I mistook a software creation program for a word processing program, and saw it as the equivalent of Microsoft claiming the right to block publication of your book if you used Word to write it. It wasn’t.

      Have you looked at the software. You have to have almost all your content pre-created from other programs first. You drop this content into the software, format it, and package it to work on the iPad.

      It’s essentially the same as hiring someone to put your ebooks into software an an e-readers can handle and create a print version. You pay for the Kindle version, you pay for the Epub version, and you pay for the print version.

      So the person who uses iBooks Author is going to have all the raw materials created before he drops them into the software (if he’s smart), and if Apple turns him down, he has the same raw materials, going to another distributor and using that distributor’s packaging software remains an option.

      I have no problem with a company refusing to cut its own throat for the benefit of the competition. Other packagers make software for the iPad, and certainly can offer competing products if it looks like there’ll be a market for them.

      • Hi, I think we are blurring lines between a software creation program, and a word processor. At the end of the day, if we take out of name of the program and its function – the output of that piece of software is a book. A book of 400 text pages, or a book of a combination of text, video clips and pictures. I acknowledge that Apple is using this software as a means of creating content for the Ipad – however, the logic falls into the strategy that they employ – wall users into the ecosystem, where you can only access your content within the ecosystem of Apple hardware and software. While it may have been a rash move to pull your books off the apple store (and kudos to you, Holly), but I believe it is vitally important for would-be authors to understand the bargain they are entering into, rather than having the meaning buried within confusing legal jargon.

        I do not support what Apple are doing here. I do not support that they do not allow authors to offer their works for cheaper outside of the ibook store (which, interestingly enough, they are being investigated for by the EU as part of an antitrust proceeding). Regardless of the software used – whether a word processor, a content editor, a graphics program, or my wonderfully fancy camera-phone effects – the software maker does not own the output that I have created, nor should they have a right to tell me where and when I can sell it.

        I would welcome comments to this – as I would like to understand the other side of why this EULA is acceptable 🙂

        • I finally came down on Apple’s side of this because they aren’t walling users into an ecosystem. There are other apps out there that create enhanced iBooks. The ones I found were actually there before Apple came out with iBook Author.


          In this regard, Apple is neither the only game in town for its platform, nor even the first.
          Authors have plenty of other ways to get enhanced books into the iBookstore.

          And Amazon and Barnes & Noble don’t let you sell your books for cheaper anyplace else, either. If you do, they’ll drop your price to the price of their lowest competitor.

          AUTHOR ASIDE: Which is the reason I won’t put my books on Kobo. Kobo discounts products they don’t own. If you place your work on an ebook store, you are doing so on consignment. Bookstores purchase physical books, so they’ve paid the publisher’s price, the author gets paid [eventually, you hope], and the bookstore can then do whatever it likes with its price. But with ebooks, the bookstore has no money invested beyond the creation of the web page that sells the book, and therefore, should have no right to change the author’s set price. Kobo discounts. That’s why people buy there. However, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple price match. When the other stores price-match, Kobo discounts again. It becomes a race to the bottom to see who can give someone else’s work away, and never mind that none of these folks paid for the books they’re discounting, or that the only person bearing the brunt of their competitive “generosity” is the person who created the work.)

          • Thanks for your comments, Holly. My comment about Apple walling users into an ecosystem is slightly different to what you a referring to in your response to me. Let me walk you through my thoughts and you can see if you agree or disagree: I know there are a number of companies that provide software to create enhanced ebooks (ref to the list you provided above, and I am not disputing this. Apple has a great way of marketing something as revolutionary, even though the technology exists already – brilliant marketing, by the way). Basically, I am not referring to the software that produces the output – I am referring to the way that the output is then marketed to the consumer, and the restrictions that bind this marketing and distribution.

            For instance, I produce an enhanced ebook with using the software from http://www.ebookarchitects.com. I now have an enhanced ebook that can work on the Ipad, as well as the Kindle Fire, and possibly Android tablets as well, and I will market and distribute as I see fit.

            Apply the same logic to iBook Author. Using the software, I create an enhanced ebook, and then this is where the EULA from Apple kicks in that states I cannot sell the output of the iBook Author anywhere else except through Apple’s distribution channels.

            So – want to get your thoughts here – is there a difference (and should there be) between using http://www.ebookarchitects.com and iBooks Author, where the former does not limit your ability to distribute / sell your work, where the latter does?

            Thanks for your time, Ken.

            • The difference is having to use two software programs instead of one.

              If you use ebookarchitects.com, for example, you pay to do so (I’m assuming they use a one-time fixed price, not an ongoing royalty—my ebook producer works on a one-time fixed price, and I wouldn’t work with one that didn’t). But for that one-time payment, you get your book in all formats.

              If you use ibook Author, you get that format for free, but have to deal with formats that can be used elsewhere separately.

              Beyond that, no difference. You’re still going to pay Apple, Kindle, and Nook 30% of whatever you make to sell your books, and if you’re using something like Smashwords, you’re going to pay them an extra per-book fee on top of that (which is why I don’t publish with Smashwords).

  32. Takes a big person with a lot of courage to admit a mistake… especially so publicly. If nothing else, you’ve earned my respect.

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