The Apple iBooks Author Issue: Small things, and large principles

The short version: I have removed my books from sale on iBookstore because Apple has included a clause in software I don’t use and wouldn’t have used anyway a clause claiming the right to refuse publication on its platform of works created with this software (which is fine and I applaud their right) and further stating that if they reject your work you cannot sell it in the format the software created anywhere else.


Here’s the clause:

B. Distribution of your Work. As a condition of this License and provided you are in compliance with its terms, your Work may be distributed as follows:

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

And then the next paragraph is bold-faced, just so you don’t miss it:

Apple will not be responsible for any costs, expenses, damages, losses (including
without limitation lost business opportunities or lost profits) or other liabilities you may incur as a result of your use of this Apple Software, including without limitation the fact that your Work may not be selected for distribution by Apple.

Here’s the guy who found, dissected, and posted about it, along with his dissection, and it will save us a BUNCH of time if you read his article.

So what’s the problem? You’re not going to use the damn software anyway!

Nope. I’m not. But I had ten books up on the iBookstore, which I put there using iTunes Producer, which is software. I do my epub versions of most of my books in iWorks Pages, which is software. And I work on Apple computers, an iPad, and an iPhone, all of which use Apple software. OS X and iOS 5 at the moment.

And the rule of software is this: Software does not get to dictate the use of output. Period. Software does not get to tell you WHERE you can sell what you’ve created, only that you have the right to sell it (in the cases where software requires a commercial license if you are producing for profit).

Software does not get to tell you, “If you create this work on our software and we don’t want to distribute it, we own the rights to the version our software created, and if you want another version, you will have to disassemble this one, and rebuild it from scratch on other software.”

The purpose of purchasing and/or using software is to make your work easier.

It is not to have the software claim ownership of any part of what you have created with it.

There is no difference—except in number of people affected—between a company claiming ownership of the rights to something you created with its ebook publisher, and something you created with its OS.

    The principle is identical.

(Apple is not claiming to own rights to your work if you work on OS X. My removal of my own work from their site is on principle, not because my own work is affected.)

And there is no number of people affected that is insignificant. The smallest minority is the individual, and minority rights protect the rights of the individual because those are the only rights there are.

So THAT is why I pulled all my books from distribution on the iBookstore, why none of my further books or any of my writing courses will be going to the iBookstore, and why I can no longer recommend the iBookstore to my students.

And this in spite of the fact that Apple makes my favorite products in the world, and I hate like hell having to do this.

And if they remove their damn clause and respect the purpose of creative software and the rights of the individual, I’ll go back.

COMMENTS have now been closed on this post.  Please read the follow-up post, and if you choose, comment there.

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178 responses to “The Apple iBooks Author Issue: Small things, and large principles”

  1. Wanda Avatar

    Hi Holly!

    I know this question has nothing to do with the topic, but when will the last book of the Worldbuilding Clinic be published? I love the clinics e they were very, very helpful to me, so I’m anxious! =)

    And thank you for writing so many excellent books to help writers! Writing for me is a hobby, I do it for fun and I don’t plan to become a professional, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t care if I do it well or not. However, the books must be a salvation for the ones who dream about making a living out of writing!

    I admire you very much! =)

  2. Jeanie Ryan Avatar
    Jeanie Ryan

    Holly, I am trying to understand your problems with Apple. I’ve been following this all over the net. Most people who are bitching about it are already anti-Apple and many are trolls. You are not and I’m really trying to understand why you feel so strongly against it as to not merely advocate not using the product, but to pull your books.

    Here’s the events as I see them. Apple, as usual, is targeting education. Have you checked out iTunes U, yet? That was also part of Thursday’s announcement. We are talking free entire courses taught my amazing people. They announced several things at Thursday’s “educational announcement” including partnering with every major textbook company to create interactive media textbooks. This was a huge package deal and is one of the reasons I LOVE Apple, their commitment to education.

    So back to the chain of events. In order to create interactive textbooks, we needed software to do this easily. Apple took the iWeb code, played with it and created iBooks Author. Then all the major textbook companies could now create textbooks. So Apple has this great program. It wasn’t created yesterday. It was supposed to be part of the iPad announcement years ago, but it wasn’t quite ready (read textbooks weren’t created yet). The only reason the app store was ready so quickly is a simulator was created. My cousin was creating apps on his mac before iPad even came out.

    Back to the story. iBooks Author allows the textbook companies to create material for the iPad. This is an amazing program that can help teachers and students. Not only can teachers generate content, but so can students. Using iBooks Author students can create amazing reports. Apple wants to make it available to the public.

    Now Apple has a choice. They can charge for it, like Garage Band, or they can make it free with the stipulation if you are going to make money off it, so will they.

    I have been waiting for this announcement all week. Rumor had it it was going to be about an eBook generator, and inside sources were mentioning repurposing iWeb code for it. I LOVE iWeb and I knew I’d love the new generator. Apple has a reputation for creating incredibly user-friendly content generators. Garage Band is incredibly easy to use and has made music creation more accessible. iPhoto is incredibly easy to use and has made sharing photos easy. You can even edit them in later versions. iPages is easy, Keynote, Numbers. All of it is intuitive. There is a cottage industry of ebook generators, because the programs are not easy.

    So enter Apple onto the scene. YAY!! Finally an easy eBook generator and it’s FREE!!! All the other Apple programs are not free. It seems mana has fallen from the heavens.

    Deep breath everyone. There must be a catch. That catch is the EULA. Apple has created a program that will foster learning. The rest of us writers now have an easy to use eBook generator, the catch is that form of the eBook can only be sold at the iBookstore.

    But I can’t use this free easy program to generate content for all those other sites. It’s not fair. I want an easy program to generate content. I’m even willing to pay for it, but Apple isn’t charging. They are requiring I use their free product to make money in their store only, thus getting a cut. They find it wrong that their free program isn’t used to benefit third party vendors.

    So what is the problem? Please explain this to me. No other software dictates where you can sell something, but no other software is like this. It is like getting a Mercedes for free and the reason it is free is Apple wants people to have easy access to this for educational purposes. Creative Suites is over $1,000. You damn well better believe I can do whatever I want with what I create. iBook Author is free created for a specific purpose.

    I think part of the problem is that people consider what they generate with iBooks Author to be self-publishing and as such are entitled to all the proceeds. I don’t see it that way. If Apple was charging a high price, I would say they aren’t entitled to any of the profits, but the aren’t. They are keeping it free to foster education. They are subsidizing this by requiring you to cut them in and the way they make sure of this is to require you to sell your product in their store.

    I can see why you fear for other authors. This is incredibly user-friendly. People are going to want to use it. Not to mention the boon of being free. But to be so offended as to pull your books, that I don’t understand. Apple wants to keep it free to foster education. This is admirable. It lists this first in the contract, showing their priority is education. Making money is second. How else can Apple ensure that they are receiving a cut of the profits for every book generated by their program except by requiring exclusivity to the iBookstore? Why aren’t they entitled to make money off of people making money off their product? How can they do this and still give iBooks away for free?

    I’m trying to understand this. It’s a new business model, such a ePublishing and self-publishing are to traditional publishing. Just because it hasn’t been done before, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t. Apple wants to keep it free and to make money. They have come up with this solution. I can see not agreeing with it, but to pull your books, that I can’t. Please help me understand.

  3. Sean Avatar

    Looking at this clause, it doesn’t appear that Apple owns your work. To me, it means if you use Apple’s iBook to write something, you can only sell it in their iBookstore, unless you negotiate a contract with them, most likely to give them a cut of your profits if it’s sold somewhere else. The whole concept is asinine. If I built furniture using my Craftsman tools, Sears cannot force me to sell my furniture through their store.

    You can always copy & paste it into something else without the formatting and reformat it. But why bother? Just write it using Word, Open Office, or whatever you like. Apple hasn’t created a unique, must-have, innovative word processor. It’s just Apple being Apple, you drink thier koolaid, you don’t get to pick the color, or add sprite.

    Apple obviously wants a piece of every pie out there. (Pun intended.) I haven’t used their software (nor will ever), but I cannot imagine iBook having some type of special formatting that no one else has ever thought of. So there is no need what-so-ever to use their software, unless you so love Apple and so hate everyone else that you think only Apple users deserve to read your work. (If that’s the case, then it’s no loss for the rest of us.)

    Remember in 1984, the Apple commercial with the runner (Apple) defying Big Brother (IBM) and throwing the hammer through the giant face on the big screen TV. Well, Apple is now Big Brother trying to dictate everything to the world.

  4. Greg Carrico Avatar

    Your integrity, honesty, and right-headedness never fail to impress me. Well done!

  5. Colin Denzel Avatar
    Colin Denzel

    I applaud your willingness to stand by your beliefs. In todays world of comments and blogs, it is much more common for people to rant, but do nothing about it. Let alone do something to protest an act which does not directly affect them.

    Having said that, I think there is another perspective to Apples use of this clause.

    iBooks Author is, in Apples eyes (I believe), equivalent to a software development tool. They are providing this software, free of charge, for people to create extremely rich content that will only work effectively in the iBook format. In exchange, they demand a cut of any income that you derive from the tool. If you don’t sell the output, they don’t ask for a thing. They will even help you to distribute it.

    It is much like the Apple App Store. If you work long and hard and manage to create a profitable App, you have to rewrite and recompile it to work on other platforms. If you don’t like this system, you have the option to create web apps, without any rules or guidelines.

    If you don’t approve of the terms for the use of iBooks Author, you can create your work using ePub, word or numerous other formats. Apple would be more than happy to help you sell or give away those works as well.

    John Gruber at Daring Fireball has posted a piece about this, and one about the use of nonstandard formats with iBooks Author. It is worth a couple of minutes of your time to read them.



    My first reaction to the EULA was the same as yours. So was John Gruber’s for that matter. I’m not sure that my mind has changed, but there is another side to this.

    I also think that it might be worth while to stay on top of this until the dust has settled a bit. Apple has a history of rewriting EULAs after the crap hits the fan.

    Again, I admire your stance on this subject. I believe that Apple pays attention to things like this, and will bow to pressure. Kudos.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Based on what you’ve said and linked to, I am working through the logic of my position, and trying to determine necessary future actions on each of two seemingly diametrically opposed goals of mine:

      One: To fight to preserve the existing ebook markets by making sure I present my work on multiple platforms and by refusing to participate in any “exclusive” deals (such as Kindle Prime) which are designed to cripple competing markets.

      Two: To act to prevent the abuse of writers and their creative rights regarding their works through platform restrictions, copyright grabs, dishonest contracts, poor payments and accounting practices, and other issues which all writers working through middlemen to present their work to readers must face and negotiate.

      Thank you for your well-presented statement and your additional links. I’ll think my way through this over the coming days, and see if I can discover a path that works.

      1. Sean Avatar

        They don’t really seem diametrically opposed. The opposition is really between your wallet and your principles. If you don’t like what Apple’s doing, are your values more important than the money you gain from sales through Apple?

        1. Danzier Avatar

          Values are always more important than money. Always.

          1. Sean Avatar

            You have to pick and choose your fights. I work with plenty of people who put more value in money than principles.

            In this situation, alternative paths are thankfully available, making it easy to choose value over money.

      2. Jeanie Ryan Avatar
        Jeanie Ryan

        When you look at one, I guess you have to determine what “exclusive” means. You are a mac person like me. iWorks and iLife are superior programs and are exclusive to Apple. Apple has a history of creating superior more user-friendly programs. Because they are only available on Macs does that mean you don’t use them? I’d have to convernt Pages to doc for a non-mac to read it. The works generated by iBooks Author will be superior to your standard ePub. Does that make it wrong or is it another format your book would appear in? When Kindle requires you to only have that book (not just the format) on Amazon, that is exclusive. Is requiring the enhanced version of your book to be at a certain store true exclusivity?

        For two, you’d have to look at the same thing. When Amazon requires Kindle only books, that is one thing. Is that what Apple is doing when it requires the enhanced version of your book which can only be read on their machine be sold at their store? I think it is important that people know up front (and who reads EULAs, so I applaud you bringing this to light) so they don’t put in all that work and they don’t get what they expected, but if they know what they are getting, I don’t see how what Apple is doing is unethical.

    2. Sean Avatar

      If I loaned my hammer to a friend and he used it to build a house, that would not grant me the right to force him to sell it through my estate agent or demand a percentage of his profit if he sold it through someone else.

      That’s what Apple is doing. If people want to sell through their store, a commission is fine.

      As greedy as MS can be, they don’t demand that I give them a cut of the book I’m hoping to publish because I used Word to write it.

      1. Tim King Avatar

        Actually: If you loaned your hammer to a friend, you could indeed do so only if he agrees to sell it through your estate agent. The difference there is that your friend would never agree to that for the sake of a lousy hammer! And that’s what (if anything) we should do here as well.


  6. Jamie W. Avatar
    Jamie W.

    I won’t use iTunes at all because I don’t like the way Apple prevents other vendors from selling media on the iPhone – found out about this when I suddenly couldn’t access the B&N Bookstore from the iPhone app. I love my iPhone, but I’m seriously considering dumping it in favor of a Droid or something else on open platform.

    While this may be a minor issue, this and other Apple business practices show a disturbing tendency to take more ownership over media than they really deserve to. It reminds me of some of the less savory business practices of Walmart, except without the cost savings to consumers or larger marketplace for vendors.

    1. ShellFog Avatar

      Hello Jamie W

      I purchase books from Amazon and read on my iPhone, iPad all the time. This problem may have something to do with your iPhone not accepting cookies. I had a similar problem earlier. So before you go to a dreaded Android try this and see how it works for you.

  7. Scrivener Avatar

    So, if Apple made cars we could only drive them to the destinations they set out in their contract. Yeah Right! I downloaded the new free ibook maker and just deleted it. Damn. Had a book all set to load and all the assets ready to pop in place. However, real publishers have expressed and interest so goodbye Apple.

    Thank you so much for pointing out this appalling behaviour by Apple – just plain and simple bullying. The worry is that it not entirely out of character – and as usual is masked by a transparent veil espousing noble sentiments about education and serving the needs of ordinary people. Well they are not getting their deceitful, grubby hands on my work.

  8. Jim Avatar

    Holly, I just wanted to say three cheers to you for standing up for what you believe in.

    1. Sue Avatar


      Three cheers!

      Also wanted to thank you for the heads-up the other day so I could get my sites blacked out. Thank you. I would have been angry at myself had I not participated.

  9. Jack Avatar

    They can’t enforce that. At no point does the clause state that ownership of your work transfers to Apple, and the fact that they have chosen not to distribute your work invalidates the contract and returns the publishing rights to you. Your using their software makes no difference.

  10. Sylvia Avatar

    Have used a Mac only a tiny bit and didn’t like it, though I believe you and all those who swear by them. I completely agree with your stance and am just as glad my ebook on Smashwords is not available in the Ibookstore. Think I needed to do something and never did it. Hope Apple gets the message.

  11. Christian K Avatar
    Christian K

    I guess I am just surprised that you, and others, didn’t see this coming. This is how Apple does business. At least this EULA doesn’t enjoin you from publicly discussing the EULA (see Apple Developer Program Agreement). This is how Apple became one of the largest companies in the world (and for a quarter THE largest).

    Apple does not change their minds about this sort of thing, even if they are clearly in the wrong. The backlash will disappear, mostly unnoticed. People have forgotten the backlash against the Apple Developer agreement, likely they will forget about this one as well. Apple has already signed up HMH, McGraw Hill and Pearson, and once those iPads are in schools other publishers won’t have a choice.

    1. Danzier Avatar

      …I don’t want a software developer teaching my kid.

  12. Jeanie Ryan Avatar
    Jeanie Ryan

    I’ve been following this debate all over the net. I’m and Apple junkie and have been waiting all week for Apple’s “educational announcement” today. I think many people are missing the point of iBooks Author. It is not to generate ebooks like you would find at any ePublisher. iBooks Author repurposes the code from iWeb to create a user-friendly program to generate multi-media interactive works.

    Apple had a choice. It could charge for the software, like it does Garage Band, but it didn’t want to. It wants iBooks Author to be accessible to every teacher, so they can generate interactive content for their students. That is a noble goal and should not be overlooked.

    Then it comes to the rest of us, the ones who want to make money off this. Why should sites like Amazon and Smashwords profit off Apple’s free program? There are plenty of programs that generate ePub format for standard text, including Scrivener. The files for iBook Author are more than that.

  13. G D Townshende Avatar
    G D Townshende

    Damn. It’s disappointing to learn that Apple is pulling that kind of crap on people. The licensing and sub-licensing and sub-sub-licensing nonsense Facebook has in place regarding photos uploaded to their site is, I think, just as offensive. They can use a user’s photos and anyone who gains possession of a photo through FB can also use a user’s photos, without due compensation. Facebook is welcome and free to set their own Terms of Service, but I disagree with that crap in their TOS, which is why, when that clause came to my attention, I removed a boatload of my photos. I’ve gone back to using Flickr for photo sharing, instead; they’re far more respectful of people’s property than Facebook.

    I’m hardly a professional photographer, but I have lots of fun with it and I don’t do too terribly bad at it, either. With Flickr, Getty Images can search and find images they like and want, and Getty requests permission to add images to their inventory. When they receive permission, Getty compensates people for the images they add to their inventory and then they compensate people again each time that others choose to make use of those images. I’ve friends—they’re far better at photography than I am—who have had Getty request to use their images and it’s a beautiful thing!

    But I agree with you completely, Holly, that a software vendor has no business telling a user what they can do with work they’ve created using the software.

    Insofar as computers go, I’m a lifelong a fan of Apple. At home, all I’ve ever owned has been Apple computers, starting with my old Apple IIe, which I bought mere months before the first Mac was introduced. Like you, every Apple that I’ve owned still worked when I decided to upgrade to a new computer. Only once have I had a hardware problem and that was with my current MacBook Pro; I, too, have AppleCare, and Apple returned it to me day after I took it in with a brand new motherboard installed (I paid nothing for the replacement—that alone justified the AppleCare fee). They found some strange corrosion on the thing. The only other problem I’ve ever had was with the keyboard on an older laptop; the paint on the majority of the keys was fading faster than normal (perhaps I have corrosive fingers? I don’t know 😛 LOL). Apple replaced that keyboard for free (the computer was still under warranty, but I also had AppleCare for that machine, as well).

    At work (I’m in cellular telecom), I’ve had no choice but to use PCs and UNIX boxes (anything from HP UNIX boxes to Sun Microsystems and Silicon Graphics workstations), so between work and home I’ve become quite literate on all manner of computing platforms… and I would rather use another UNIX box than convert to using a PC. If Apple were to go out of business for some reason, I’d keep my current computer and run Ubuntu Linux on it—I already have Ubuntu installed, in fact; it runs through Oracle’s free VirtualBox.

    For school (I’m going after an IT degree), I have to use Word, even though I hate Word. (I had a helluva fight with Word just last night, in fact.) My wordprocessor of choice is Mellel, a Mac-only wordprocessor specifically designed for use with long documents. Mellel does all the things Word does and does it better and for less (about $39, as I recall). Publishers don’t care which wordprocessor I use so long as my manuscripts are formatted correctly, or so long as my electronic submissions are in their preferred format (Mellel will save in Word format, too, if necessary). I, too, use Scrivener—I love that I can have audio files, images, webpages, etc, all in one place, when I’m doing research for a story.

    Now, if I can just get my writing to a point where instead of handwritten rejections, I receive a contract instead! LOL

    1. G D Townshende Avatar
      G D Townshende

      I wrote: “I, too, have AppleCare, and Apple returned it to me day after I took it in with a brand new motherboard installed…”

      Egads! Did I write that mess?! Time to modify… “I, too have AppleCare, and the day after I took it in Apple returned it to me with a brand new motherboard installed.” That’s much better. 😛 LOL

      1. G D Townshende Avatar
        G D Townshende

        I should add that my name’s Gary, but many friends just call me GT.

        1. ShellFog Avatar

          G’Day GT

          I have had nothing but problems with Word on my Mac so I am currently using Open Office from Google it, it’s free and works very similarly to Word. It might work for you.

          1. G D Townshende Avatar
            G D Townshende


            I’ve heard lots about OpenOffice—even my girlfriend recommends it—but I’ve never really looked into it, to be honest. That’s largely because I’ve grown very used to Mellel and I like what it gives me. I first bought Mellel back in 2003, when the software was on v1.8. It’s now at v2.9 and I’ve paid for an upgrade only once. To pay $39 when I first got it, then another $39 for one other major upgrade in 8 years, with all other upgrades for free, is insanely cheap.

            I’ve already got templates and styles set up for my manuscripts in Mellel, so all I have to do is open my manuscript template, and start typing. When I want a scene break, I just hit return, choose scene break style, type my hash marks, hit return, and type. Starting a new page for a chapter is also just as easy… insert page break, choose new chapter style, and type.

            Prior to Mellel, I used Nisus Writer, so I haven’t had Word on any of my Macs since… I don’t know… sometime back in the early 1990s, I guess. The only reason I have Word on my machine now is because of school, because they require PowerPoint. If it weren’t for the PowerPoint requirement, I’d use Mellel for school and convert my docs to Word format. Otherwise, I’d be Word-free.

    2. Holly Avatar

      Good alternatives for Word, depending on the complexity of the documents you’re creating:

      Bean. Simple, straightforward, free. Lovely for novelists who don’t footnote.

      Mellel. Feature-rich, bit of a learning curve, produces beautiful documents.

      Pages. Pretty good for the price, does not auto-number chapters (which boggles the mind), available from Apple.

      Scrivener. My god. All by itself, a reason to own a Mac. I’m replotting WARPAINT (Cadence Drake 2) on it today.

      1. G D Townshende Avatar
        G D Townshende

        I’ve not heard of Bean before. Looking at the screenshots, it not only looks incredibly elegant, but I see that it also allows for kerning adjustment. That’s a feature I’ve typically seen only in professional page layout software, like Adobe PageMaker (which I have used for manuscripts—long, long ago—believe it or not, but I was also into desktop publishing at the time) and Quark XPress. PageMaker and Quark are extremely expensive and both have a helluva learning curve, but I always loved the absolute freedom of control that they provide. To call Word’s less than feeble attempts to mimic page layout software features amateurish is an undeserved compliment.

        Scrivener, though, is mind-blowing.

  14. Liz Castro Avatar

    I wholeheartedly agree with you. Yay for principles! I haven’t yet taken my books down from the iBookstore, but I have definitely sworn off using iBooks Author for the reasons you mention.

  15. Karl Kelley Avatar
    Karl Kelley

    This thread has enraptured me…I have read it from beginning to end, a rare occurrence for me. The Apple/not-Apple comments are pretty much what I hear in the real world out there. Since everyone seems to feel obligated to explain their position, here’s mine: MANY years ago I learned that Apple hardware and software products were proprietary. I also learned that they were far more expensive than competitors’ products. Later in life, I learned (vicariously, of course) that they were REALLY GOOD products. But I simply did not like their “proprietary” business model, so I have never owned an Apple product. Although I have owned Sony products, I don’t buy Sony products that require the use of proprietary Sony accessories. It’s just me.

    Since I haven’t used the Apple products, I can’t comment on the hardware or software. Then again, the thread started out with Holly explaining her actions regarding the EULA, and that I CAN comment on.

    Simply put, what Apple did was within their rights; what Holly did was within her rights. Each must suffer the consequences of his actions, large or small. I share the opinion that if a large number of users notify Apple that they are not going to accept the terms of the EULA, then at some point the impact on Apple may stimulate them to consider revising that clause. Until that time, Apple has simply made a business decision and will not budge. Everyone should remember the “New Coke” fiasco, and only hope that similar results will happen here.

    BTW, the comments posted herein, coupled with other input, MAY have convinced me to give an Apple desktop or laptop a try!

    1. Charles Anderson Avatar
      Charles Anderson

      Proprietary isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Most people get it wrong when they think of something as ‘proprietary’, anyway. By the way, if a Mac were truly “proprietary” and locked down, you wouldn’t be able to use any non-Apple hardware accessories, run Windows on a Mac, etc. etc. etc. You can do all of these things, of course. They just happen to think their walled garden approach is better. It’s a debate that will go on for a long time.

  16. Mike Bove Avatar

    I do not use any Apple products. I agree whole heartily with Holly and applaud her for sticking to her principles.

  17. kate Avatar

    I’m a lifelong Apple user. Other than the Atari we had back in the early 80s, and the 2 PC’s we’ve adopted, all we’ve ever used were Apples, beginning with the IIe my Mom got for working with school stuff to her current Mac Mini Intel. We both have an iPod Touch and I have 4 ereaders on mine with about 1000 total ebooks. Funnily enough, iBooks is one I don’t have.

    As one of your students I got your email on this and I can understand and support your decision. Reading that clause with your warning ringing in my ears, I took it to mean what you did in terms of overreaching control. Apple has always been big on the “you play in my sandbox only by following my rules” attitude and this is regrettably in keeping with that.

    I think that another interpretation may have been intended and the way you read it was not what they’d meant it to say. Sloppy lawyering, that. I think part of the reason for that clause was what @ZenWriter suggested regarding hate speech etc. But I think that the true reason for that clause is to prevent writers/creators from selling iBookstore books outside the iBookstore. I think it’s part and parcel of the reason you can no longer buy Kindle or Nook books from inside their apps. Apple wants their cut and they know they won’t get it if the books are not sold thru them.

    I agree with your point that if Microsoft did something like this, the entire Justce department would be moving to Redmond for the duration. Right behind a large contingent of Occupy. I think you did the right thing, and I hope that Apple will see that they need to change the wording there. If not, I go with Open Office.

  18. R.C. Mann Avatar
    R.C. Mann

    I understand why you prefer not to use MS products. Have you considered open source? I have been using Linux for several years now. I can tell you that many of the newbie friendly distributions (flavors) of Linux are considerably easier to pick up and use than MS Windows. In fact, many of them are deliberately imitating the Apple interface. Were you aware that OSX was derived in part from open source?

    There are free (as in beer and as in air) alternatives to all of the commercial packages. The latest version of yWriter 5 for example, offers most if no all of the features of Scrivener as far as I can tell. There are a plethora of epublishing software packages in the open source world, some more polished than others. OpenOffice/LibreOffice is obviously well on the way to usurping MS Office when it comes to home and small business use. You might spare a look. The nice thing about Linux is this – most distributions offer a bootable CD. You can boot up into a Linux system and try it out without ever changing a single file on your own hardware. And yes, there are flavors available for Mac hardware as well as Intel based hardware.

    Just a suggestion. I got tired of MS having an attitude similar to the one that you are upset about here. I bailed out years ago, and I haven’t bought a commercial package in more than ten years.

  19. RJ Dennis Avatar

    Holly, I respect your decision, however, I think there is something that hasn’t been pointed out yet. You can still publish to iBooks using iTunes Producer and are not locked in, because using that software, your work is output in .epub format, the standard, which can be read on any device, except on a Kindle ereader itself. If you use iBooks Author, your work is output in .ibooks, which can ONLY be read on an iPad. Not on an iPhone, not on an iTouch, and not even on a Mac. Just an iPad. And you have to have iBooks 2 and an iPad 2 for it to be read. iBooks Author produces a file that can only be read on one thing.

    The only good thing I can give about Amazon and its Kindle, is at least Kindle can be read on smartphones and computers with an app. Otherwise, it’s only output is .mobi, and a Kindle is the only thing that can read that file. A book in the universal .epub format cannot be read on a Kindle or Kindle app.

    At first I was excited about iBooks Author, until I saw the EULA agreement and the fact that it is mostly for use to create textbooks and other works of non-fiction. Sure, it has an easy drag-and-drop for multimedia, which is great for extended learning. However, your books, my books, and the sort of things our readers read most often is fiction. While multimedia can be put into an .epub or .mobi formatted book, most of the time multimedia isn’t going to be necessary in a fiction piece.

    I understand your reasoning, Holly, but at the same time I question it, and I apologize for doing so. Everyone is entitled to their decisions and the freedom to protest whatever they choose. But when you can still create .epub books from Pages as we both do, and upload them to the iBookstore via iTunes Producer, which can then be read on a Mac, an iPhone, an iTouch, and an iPad, I find it odd that an author who was making money selling their books that way would pull their books in protest of a piece of software that an author does not have to use to get their books to the same store.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hi, RJ,

      I’m not affected by the software at all. I hire an ebook service to do most of my ebook conversions, have had all of them to this point converted into .epub and .mobi, and use Scrivener for those I do myself.

      I didn’t pull my books because this issue affects me personally. It doesn’t.

      I pulled them because this issue may affect thousands of my writing students, and because I disagree with the principle Apple is using with the user terms of what is essentially fancy word processing software it’s giving away for free.

      1. RJ Dennis Avatar


        That is why I understand and respect your decision. 🙂 You’re looking out for others who could potentially find themselves in an extremely unfortunate and unwanted situation. Novice writers who have not done their homework and those of us without enough money to buy special software (who, let’s face it, is most of us), are going to get sucked into a FREE ebook creator.

        I do not in any way agree with Apple’s decision to make its iBook Author software create a file output that can only be read on one device. IF someone wanted to use that software, the only workaround would be for them to write their book in Pages, MS Word, OO Writer, or whatever, edit and revise there, and then copy/paste their work into iBook Author and format there. This is what anyone (IMO) should do when creating a work for digital distribution, create the main body of work in a word processor and then format/add cover/TOC/etc. in a dedicated converter, many of which are free. This is what I did for my book and will do with all subsequent books I write. There is no decompiling involved, just copy/paste and format. A bit time-consuming? Yes. Worth the time consumption for not having to go through the hassle of decompiling for every format? Yes. Of course, that is just my opinion.

        I applaude you for standing up and taking action against what is, in essence, a dangerous piece of software for unsuspecting authors. I just wish more people would have patience and do their research homework (i.e. looking for free pieces of software, such as Open Office Writer for a word processor and things like Sigil and calibre for free ebook formatting and conversion that don’t have restrictions and going through Smashwords if they want their book in the iBookstore and other places besides Amazon), then you might not have had to pull your work, which, by the way, I am a fan of your books.

      2. Lorraine Waite Avatar
        Lorraine Waite

        First off: I don’t think RJ needs to apologize for having an opinion, any more than Holly or I do. Opinions and disagreement encourage discussion, debate, discourse. All important for the furthering of information.
        Second off: Holly, I’ve read your post, and Mr. Bott’s article, and I do plan to read further into this issue (One can’t have an accurate feel of a topic unless one does this, I feel). I understand, and salute your actions as a result of the EULA. I believe the attempted restriction of a book/article… WORK created in a particular software to be sold ONLY through that software’s website…IF that software’s company decides it’s worthy of being published is WRONG. Apple is basically saying that, if they do not want to publish your WORK, that you have spent hours, days, weeks or months on creating and formatting, you have no recourse except to take your raw, un-formatted text, and start all over again, hopefully, somewhere else. People that care about the freedom to publish, weither they use that software or not have the right to follow their morals and pull from the website. If only those people that are personally affected by the software in question (iBookAuthor) pulled out of the site, Apple would say “Good riddance to bad rubbish,” and go on about their merry way. If the vast majority of publishers and users said “Hell no! We won’t Go!”, they’ll have to sit up and take notice.

        I have yet to write a book, let alone publish one, but I believe that whether a book suits MY fancy or not, it deserves publishing. SOMEONE out there will appreciate its existance, and it is not my place, nor Apple’s, to prevent the dissemination of ‘Works’ because it’s not ‘good enough’ or ‘saying the proper thing’

        1. RJ Dennis Avatar

          Lorraine, no, I didn’t need to apologize, but that is just the way I am. I do it when speaking with friends, as well. I respect Holly, but she doesn’t know me from any other schmuck walking down the street. I just try to be polite when disagreeing either partially or fully with someone.

      3. Jeanie Ryan Avatar
        Jeanie Ryan

        iBooks Author is not fancy word processing software Apple is giving away for free. IBooks Author repurposes the code from iWeb to allow interactive multi-media works to be created for the iPad. Why should a third-party company profit from this? It is not designed for the standard author who wants to publish a standard ebook.

    2. Peter Hatch Avatar
      Peter Hatch

      Uh, the .mobi file format predates the Kindle (and ePub) by years. There’s plenty of other things that can read it, though most of it is old, since ePub has replaced it as the standard.

      1. RJ Dennis Avatar

        Peter, yes, .mobi is an old format and can be read on older things, but about the only thing people use nowadays to read with that format is a Kindle and Kindle apps. Since .epub has become the standard and technology is always advancing, not many people use older stuff to read something in .mobi format.

  20. Laraine Anne Barker Avatar

    So I can buy a Kindle book any place I want to buy one? Funny, I haven’t seen any at Whitcoulls (possibly New Zealand’s biggest bookseller, including electronic books).

    1. Holly Avatar

      Can you download the Kindle software? I know Australia has Kindle books because I sell a lot of them there. But I don’t know if the trade agreements between countries have reached New Zealand, or if you would be able to get the computer app. Try this link and see if it works.
      (It goes directly to Amazon’s app page, so it’s safe.)

      New Zealand. The last capitalist freehold. (You guys are my heroes.)

      I know Amazon is working to expand to countries currently not accessible, so maybe soon.

      1. Jack Avatar

        You’re kidding, right? New Zealand is more socialist than the USA, although still at the centre of the political spectrum. The only parties that compare to US-style capitalism are Act and Conservatives, and we tend not pay them much attention.

        1. Holly Avatar

          Well, that’s dismal news. And does call into question the official New Zealand websites.

          1. Jack Avatar

            Which websites? Also, I don’t see why it’s bad news. New Zealand has Universal Health Care and Welfare while still lacking the capital gains tax, which makes investors want to set up business here. Also, we tie with Denmark and Singapore for 1st, 2nd and 3rd least corrupt countries. America isn’t even in the top 11.

      2. RattyUK Avatar

        The point being is that mobi is also a proprietary format. Just because Amazon makes its app available everywhere doesn’t detract from this.

        I think the point you are missing in all this is that Apple have created a format to sell interactive books in their environment. They have produced a piece of authoring software for free so that people can produce engaging and interactive content.

        Up until yesterday the only way to achieve this was by purchasing high-end software such as Creative Suite which sets you back well over a grand. You can do what you like with it of course, but you have to pay a large up-front fee to get involved.

        And thereby lies the problem. Very small publishing houses could not afford to get involved.

        This is not about books, this is about interactive books. Books like yours have not had their terms and conditions changed, you appear to be cutting off your nose to spite your face with this withdrawal.

        The actual terms and conditions are basically saying if you use our free tool to generate an interactive book, you can only sell it through us. i.e. We are giving you the tools to build something for free, the only cost is that the interactive output from that tool must be sold through us. You may give it away for free elsewhere, you may give it away for free through us. But if you sell it you must sell it through us.

        You are also free to do what you could do before we announced this product which is to spend money and buy tools and build something with them and do what you like with it. We have not stopped you from doing that. All we are asking is that if you use our FREE tool, you have to sell it through our store.

        I don’t really see why this is an issue. It really is a storm in a teacup. The only person losing out from your withdrawal from the Apple store is you. It ain’t going to change anything.

    2. Tannis Laidlaw Avatar
      Tannis Laidlaw

      You can buy a Kindle in New Zealand from Dick Smiths. They’ve had them for a few months now and they sold extremely well, sold out before Christmas. Probably okay again now.

    3. Liz Castro Avatar

      Although Amazon doesn’t sell in New Zealand, it doesn’t prohibit anyone else from selling Kindle compatible books there, created with its own KindleGen or Kindle Previewer software. (Indeed, I sell Kindle and EPUB formatted books in New Zealand.)

      In contrast, you won’t see any iBooks Author generated textbooks in New Zealand until Apple opens a New Zealand iBookstore, and even then (if then), you’ll only see them in the iBookstore.

    4. Peter Hatch Avatar
      Peter Hatch

      No, you can sell Kindle books any place you want. There’s nothing stopping Whitcoulls from selling Kindle books, though they couldn’t sell them with Kindle-compatible DRM, as that is proprietary.

  21. Wednesday Avatar

    Is this previous clause in the contract another problem or am I reading it wrong:
    “If your Work is provided for a fee (including as part of any subscription-based product or service), you may only distribute the Work through Apple…”

    So you can’t use Amazon or any other distribution network? Only Apple? Apple just became your exclusive publisher AND distributor? Um…we’re leaving legacy publishing because of this. I see no reason to replace Madison Avenue with Apple Inc. Amazon doesn’t demand exclusive distribution but Apple does? If I’m not reading this wrong, then I guess this is Lesson the First reiterated: ALWAYS READ THE CONTRACT SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY AND KNOW WHAT YOU’RE SIGNING.

    1. Holly Avatar

      That’s how I read that first clause too, but I’m not a laywer, and there may be some comma in there that makes sit not mean what it looks like it means.

      Either way, you have the right idea. Caveat emptor. Always good advice.

      1. Dee Avatar

        As a person new to the publishing field, I appreciate seeing all sides of the issue. I sent this information off to a friend who is currently self-publishing, not to change her mind about going with Apple (as we both use Apple and PC computers) but to allow her to make an informed decision. Thanks for bringing this up for discussion, Holly.

      2. RattyUK Avatar

        “So you can’t use Amazon or any other distribution network? Only Apple? Apple just became your exclusive publisher AND distributor? Um…we’re leaving legacy publishing because of this. I see no reason to replace Madison Avenue with Apple Inc. Amazon doesn’t demand exclusive distribution but Apple does? If I’m not reading this wrong, then I guess this is Lesson the First reiterated: ALWAYS READ THE CONTRACT SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY AND KNOW WHAT YOU’RE SIGNING.”

        Nope. The way to read it is that if you are using the FREE software Apple supply then you must sell the interactive output from that software through Apple.

        You are completely free to use other tools to build an interactive version of the same book and sell it wherever you like. On the downside this will take you some time. The same amount of time it would have taken before Apple had provided this FREE tool.

  22. Chris Avatar

    I do all my work through Smashwords which then posts to iBooks. I wonder how this affects that if at all.

    1. Holly Avatar

      It affects you not at all. Unless the principle of what Apple is doing with this particular piece of creative software offered for free to other creative people bothers you.

      I would hate to see any of my students get sucked into the problem, so I considered my actions and my options, and decided to take an action I think is ethical and appropriate as a commentary to what Apple is doing with this particular piece of software, iBooks Author.

      I know this is costing me sales, and I have no doubt it will cost me some goodwill. But this is something I can act on, and perhaps raise enough awareness among my writing students that they will at least stop and thing before using the software.

      I cannot do everything, or fix everything. But this I CAN do. So I will.

      1. Shannan Avatar

        From what I have been reading iBookstore does not have a strong market share in the ebooks sales arena. Yes, it will cost you some sales but your principles are more valuable.

        As an Apple fanatic, this policy disturbs me.

    2. Peter Avatar

      I love Smashwords! I’ve never published through them, only purchased. Top knotch!

  23. Rob Graham Avatar

    First off, I can’t believe the number of people who have never heard this before.
    It is the main reason I quit buying anything Apple for the past seven years.
    I don’t and will not own ipod, iphone, ipad, or ianything due to their dipping their hands in all the pie.

    An example of this…. on iPad, some magazines cost more than if you bought it from the news stand for a paper edition because the company who publishes the mag has to pay apple for the right.

    All i can say is go Android for everything please. Google will never charged you extra to publish to that format.

    Android has tablets that are far better in quality and cost.

    Avoid anything Apple has to offer, they are greedier than Microsoft and that says a mouth full.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Please define “greed.”

      1. Rob Graham Avatar

        Greed in this context is thus:

        They are making millions of dollars for customers buying their products (iPad, iPod, iPhone) and to make more (Completely their right to do so) they charge publishers for using their format which in turn costs their customers more to purchase.
        I got rid of my iPod when they started charging for software updates.
        If I were a programmer with a word processor, I could include MS Word format (.DOC) with a notification to them for permission and rarely do they charge said software company for that right. (Depends on circumstances.

        Yes they have every right to do so, but obviously you felt strong enough about this to pull your books. If you go to them for permission you have to pay them. This would lead to your raising the prices of your books, which trickles down to the people purchasing your book.
        I personally don’t want to pay for a device that will cost me more in the long run.

        1. Holly Avatar

          That’s not a definition. That’s an evasion of my question.

          Here’s my definition. Greed is wanting to have what you have not earned.

          Period. It is not wanting to make more money, it is not wanting to keep what you have earned.

          Greed is wanting to have what you have not earned.

          If they create the software and want to charge for it, they may do so. When they charge for the software, they can afford to pay the people who worked on it.

          Do you want to get paid for your work? Are you greedy for wanting to get paid for your work?

          I don’t think so. I think if you work, and you earn the money, you should get to keep whatever you’ve earned.

          1. Nicholas Bollaert Avatar
            Nicholas Bollaert

            While I agree with you in principle, that doesn’t sound like the definition of greed to me either :-p Plenty of rich as well as poor people are greedy, regardless of how much they have earned. Greed is a matter of a moral judgment, not a practical one.

          2. Jeanie Ryan Avatar
            Jeanie Ryan

            but they don’t want to charge for the software. This isn’t garage band. This is aimed at educators so they can generate content for their students’ iPads. Many districts are sinking their textbook money into iPads. Part of this “educational announcement” was Apple pairing with every major text book company to create interactive textbooks. i find it admirable that they want to have this technology available to all educators.

            1. Sean Avatar

              I wouldn’t begrudge anyone earning money off their work. Forcing them into a contract to produce something to not sell it in iBookstore is something else. Imagine if car manufacturers forced everyone into usage contracts. If you use our car for business, we get a percentage of your earnings.

              Apple’s efforts are far from altruistic, the exact opposite in fact. They are making money off of sales of iPads, when teachers create content that can only be accessed through iPads, then people who don’t want to buy their products are forced into a situation where they have to, or their child will not be able to access it. This plan of course excludes the poor.

              The content produced by iBooks is proprietary based on a standard (ePub), available only through Apple’s store. What is any teenager with access to iTunes gonna do, buy music and video while they are there. Poor unfortunate Apple makes even more money.

              The unformatted text can be copied and pasted into another word processor, but this is only text. Diagrams, and images won’t port, formatting is messed up, i.e. image comments are interspersed with text. Having tried to copy columns of text in a PDF and paste into Notepad can result in a major nightmare when the text is read across columns and not down. Again, too bad for the poor students.

              1. Jeanie Ryan Avatar
                Jeanie Ryan

                You pay for a car. You own the car because you paid a whole lot of money for it. These wild comparisons such as to Adobe or automobiles are not accurate because you paid for those other programs. You don’t pay for iBooks Author. Instead you agree to the EULA. That’s how you “pay” for it. You are either saying, I’m using this product for non-commercial purposes and paying for it by enriching the knowledge of others or I am using it for commercial purposes and am willing to cut Apple in on the deal to pay for it.

                As for parents buying their kids iPads, the school districts are doing that. I did not pay for my older daughter’s iPad. Her entire Freshman class was given them. My youngest will be given hers by her school next year in 6th grade. They will both turn them in at the end of the school year and get the same one back when school begins. Many school districts are sinking their entire textbook budgets and/or receiving grants to give the students iPads. Parents don’t have to buy a thing. The poor are in no way disadvantaged any more than they would be for any computer and/or internet driven program. The reason my daughter’s schools are giving out iPads is they are cheaper than laptops and more versatile.

                As for buying things at the iTunes store, the app store and the iBookstore are only linked together through your mac account. When I go to the App store and/or iBookstore, I cannot download audio and video from iTunes. To download anything, you need an account and a password. We don’t let our daughter have the password. If she wants anything, she has to come to Hubby or me. Even is something is free, she still can’t download it without our password.

              2. Sean Avatar

                Jeanie, thanks for the response.

                Paying for it or getting it free has nothing to do with the EULA. There is always an EULA with software that you agree to before you install it. There is always a radio button or check box that states, ‘I agree.’ Apple could make people pay for it, and still have the exact same EULA. They could just as easily say that it can only be used for the single purpose of creating (free) content for educational purposes. This removes the commercial aspect of it from the educational aspect, and I doubt anyone would have a problem with that. They can then provide a slightly different version – a lot of software companies do this already – for pay users to create content for sell.

                I did suspect schools might provide iPads, and have only seen that done with laptops on a limited basis. (I’m an expatriate living in the UK. Things are different here.) I don’t have an iBookstore account, unless that’s attached to the iTunes account, which I do have since the sole iProduct I own is an iPod. I’ve been to iTunes once to see about a physics lecturer’s podcast; a friend and Apple koolaid drinker had mentioned it to me. It was free for a couple of days, but I didn’t get it, then Apple started charging for it. Since I rip my CDs, I don’t buy anything from them.

                So, as long as a student doesn’t break the iPad, lose it, or have it stolen, then there is little to worry about. (Woe to the poor student who does.) And as long as Apple leaves the content free, unlike the physics lecture, then that’s fine. Apple’s iniative, while helpful to education, is the same as the Phillip Morris’, hook’em when they’re young. Apple is going to make money off all those iPad sales.

                It would be better if the gov’t took the initiative and had an open education content format created and gave businesses a chance to host it on their clouds for a tax right off. It takes the commercial aspect out of the equation. Companies could compete in the content creation tool market and the hardware delivery market. But then, I wouldn’t want to be guilty of accusing the gov’t of original thinking.

          3. green_knight Avatar

            Apple could have gone two ways: a) they charge for the software and place no restrictions on it, or b) they don’t charge for the software, but lock you into their distribution channel. You don’t get to sell your the Kindle file you created through Amazon’s uploader anywhere but through Amazon, you don’t get to sell your Smashwords meatgrinder output anywhere but on Smashwords, you don’t get to sell the output created by Apple’s iBook Author anywhere but through Apple.

            Also, restrictions on what you may or may not create with software are not uncommon. If you use MS Office Home edition for your business, you break the EULA. Lots of 3D software has ‘noncommercial’ clauses – either you pay a fortune for a commercial edition, or you can’t sell the output.

            Last but not least, if you were invited to write a media tie in novel, would you go for it? Even in the knowledge that if it gets rejected by the editor, you won’t have a book you can sell to anyone? If you answer this with ‘yes’ or if you think it’s a valid option for authors (though you would choose otherwise), then you’ll understand why I see Apple’s iBook format as no different.

  24. Glenn1968 Avatar

    This is unfortunate. I applaud (and support entirely) your choice to pull down your books from iBookstore.

    However, I think you may have missed a sales opportunity here. I know if I received your email saying “I will be pulling all content from Apple’s bookstore by the following date xx/xx/2012, and here is why”, then I probably would have bought 4 or 5 titles before they were gone. But you never gave me the chance 🙁

    1. Holly Avatar

      I KNOW I missed a sales opportunity, Glenn. I’m missing a lot of them. I knew this was going to cost me money before I made the decision, because I was already making money on the books.

      And I apologize for not giving you a chance to pick up the books in the store. My hope is that Apple will realize that the clause and its general closed-shop approach to books (as opposed to its open-shop approach to music) is hurting it, and will change what it’s doing. In the meantime, I’ll take the paycut as the cost of doing something I think is important.

  25. Fiona Darrow Avatar
    Fiona Darrow

    Well, you’ve certainly done a marvelous job of getting all the Apple bashers to come out of the woodwork and post their hate about Apple products. Personally I am sick of listening to their hate speech that is rarely accompanied by any concrete evidence (I will add that I am equally bored of the Windows haters for the same reason).

    I’d just like to say that I personally prefer reading my ebooks on my iPad in the iBooks reader so I will exercise my rights to NOT purchase ebooks if they aren’t available in it. If an author wants to go public and make a big splash without even the slightest appearance of making an ATTEMPT to contact the company and WORK with them, that is their right. But in my experience it really doesn’t seem to work anything out and in the end the author and the readers all lose.

    1. Holly Avatar

      And again, that’s your choice. I’m tired of hearing everyone who hasn’t used a thing bitch about it out of some theory that their clueless opinion has some value.

      I have used Apple. And Windows. You’ve used them.

      We make our choices, we live with the consequences.

  26. Teagan Avatar

    I’m sad. I grew up on Macs and I remember how much I loved a lot of the features. It was a haven for creativity, and respected its fanbase/users. It was the underdog fighting against Windows.

    Now more and more, the company has forgotten that and has turned into a flashier, more expensive Windows clone. It may be a bit over dramatic, but it feels like something from my childhood is being corrupted.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Well, I would say that Windows is a shoddy Mac clone, but beyond that, I do agree with you that Apple seems to be selling its soul.

      1. Lee Avatar

        Heh. Windows, shoddy Mac clone. Heh. So true! 😉

  27. D.C. Ross Avatar
    D.C. Ross

    I missed my window of opportunity to comment on your recent missive regarding the forms of slavery where I wanted to applaud your opinion. Though not the same, I believe this to be in a similar vein. The reason I bring this up here is because I think Apple is, and has for a long time, quite anti-capitalist at its core (pun intended). I don’t think they see the value of competition in a free market. For them to all but take ownership of someone’s intellectual property in such a manner is disgustingly egotistical at best. Everyone who is provides goods or services wants people to buy theirs over their competition’s. However when that desire manifests itself in tactics that put a stranglehold on a possible competitor making it punishable for engaging in make-it-better-or-cheaper competition its a disservice to everyone. While Apple has always pushed itself to bring better and better products to market, the fact that they have often brought suit against competition for making a product that is similar. While I don’t have iBooks for sale (yet?), the measures Apple has used regarding what I can and cannot run on my iPhone–Apple’s refusal to allow Flash to run on its mobile browser, just to name one–is enough to make me switch back to a non-Apple world.

    Finally, the most troubling thing is Apple’s reason for not allowing Flash, or the way it approves some apps over others in iTunes. Apple wants to protect its users from… From what? Parental controls are one thing but a corporate “big brother” protecting me from myself I neither want nor need. I have enough unelected agencies, bureaus, and commissions doing that already.

    Thank you for the post, Holly.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hi, D.C.

      I’ve copied your post below, and I’m going to respond. This is big, so please be patient with me.

      I missed my window of opportunity to comment on your recent missive regarding the forms of slavery where I wanted to applaud your opinion. Though not the same, I believe this to be in a similar vein. The reason I bring this up here is because I think Apple is, and has for a long time, quite anti-capitalist at its core (pun intended).

      Government action and business actions are not and cannot ever be the same, for the same reason that government actions and individual actions cannot be the same.

      The government is the only entity given permission by the people of this country to use force against its own citizens, so the Constitution and the Bill of Rights exist SOLELY to limit the actions of the government against its own people.

      By the understanding of the people who created this country as a nation of laws, the government was the problem from the very beginning, and had to be controlled.

      It is for this reason that charges of censorship can only be legitimately leveled against the government, and NEVER against businesses or individuals. Only government can stick a gun to your head and say “You can’t do that anymore” or “You can’t say that anymore,” and not be thrown in jail. Only the government can steal your money at the point of a gun and not go to jail for doing it.

      So while I think what Apple is doing is unethical and beneath the company they could be, it is not in ANY way an abridgement of free speech, it is not in ANY way an act of censorship, and it is not in ANY way criminal. It is not “Big Brother” because, again, only the government has the guns to turn on you if you don’t bow down to illegal actions it carries out with force.

      If you don’t like Apple, you don’t buy the products, or you don’t use them, or if you love their stuff but not what you see them doing, you pull your products from their platform and wait to see if the company’s people start making better corporate decisions soon.

      But you don’t ever mistake Apple, or ANY business (including those SOPA-pushing Hollywood scumbags), for the government, because businesses have no teeth to reach into your life and crush you. Only the government does.

      Government corruption is on government’s hands, incidentally. Most government official are, to use an old phrase, no better than they should be. And nowhere near as good as they need to be. And businesses run by equally corrupt, weak individuals will use the corruption and weakness offered. But businesses do not create the corruption or the weakness.

      1. Laura Avatar

        So well said! Thank you.

      2. Tim King Avatar

        I’m glad you wrote this, Holly. I was a little confused when I read this from your blog post:

        The smallest minority is the individual, and minority rights protect the rights of the individual because those are the only rights there are.

        Maybe I’m misunderstanding here, but it sounds like these “minority rights” include things like my right to live, my right to control my own body, my right to pursue my own happiness, my right to earn an honest living, my right to enter into contracts and to enforce them, and my right to write and to speak my mind. But fundamental human rights like that do not include my right to use a particular piece of software in a particular context.

        A friend of mine asked me: “What if it were a service? Would that change the implications?” I immediately thought of Smashwords. You can put up your ebook for free on their website, convert it to numerous formats using their Meatgrinder. But you are not allowed to use this free service to generate ebooks for redistribution outside of their site. That seems fair, as the Meatgrinder is their software, runs on their computers, and they make it available for free, under conditions that they dictate.

        Similarly (if I understand correctly), iBooks Author is free software. Apple seems to have released this in order to give people a way to publish on iBooks. The software does not output industry-standard ebook files; only files that will work with Apple’s proprietary reader. It sounds like a bad solution to me. And Apple has definitely lost sight of the purpose that once made them great. (More on that in a moment.) But—on the other hand—if Apple gives me (or sells me) its software, it can attach any conditions on the use of that software—even unreasonable ones—without infringing on my fundamental human rights. After all, I have no “right” to use their software.

        That said, Apple used to be about beautiful computing. Their products used to be beautiful to see and beautiful to use. That was Steve Jobs’s thing. They put together systems that did all the things they were supposed to, and were a joy to use. The MacBook and iMac series still (for the time being) reflect those values. But more and more, with the iOS devices (i.e., the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch), I see potholes Apple has intentionally put in the road, to make it harder for you to do what you want to do with “their” products. I’m saving the long list for my own blog post, but this seems to be another item for that list. While I may be disappointed, I guess it only affects me marginally, as I’ve already decided to get an Android device rather than an iOS device.


        1. J Clark Avatar
          J Clark

          “And Apple has definitely lost sight of the purpose that once made them great. ”

          I would argue that what makes Apple great is always pushing the boundaries and not being hung up on tradition or worrying what anyone else is doing. John Gruber puts it best:

          “It’s the difference between ‘What’s the best we can do within the constraints of the current ePub spec?’ versus ‘What’s the best we can do given the constraints of our engineering talent?’ — the difference between going as fast as the W3C standards body permits versus going as fast as Apple is capable.”

          As a previous poster mentioned, if you think of iBooks Author as a service or SDK, it makes perfect sense. The content is yours to do with as you please, but the actual file this “SDK” produces is confined by the terms of the EULA. I would prefer a universal eBook authoring tool, but Apple isn’t doing anything wrong here (when the “open” android development tools produce iOS and Windows Phone apps, maybe then there will be a valid argument to make).

          1. Sean Avatar

            Reading the link Holly provided, I came across the following:

            An Apple support document notes that “iBooks uses the ePub file format” and later refers to it as “the industry-leading ePub digital book file type.”

            To me that statement means it falls well outside of “What’s the best we can do given the constraints of our engineering talent?” and well within “What’s the best we can do within the constraints of the current ePub spec?” Following the rest of that statement, if MS strikes out of their own instead of waiting for W3C, adding to IE and they get lambasted for it, Apple does the same thing and they get praised. Huh? They must be everyone’s favorite underdog despite being a behemoth, or they create cool looking products, so they must be cool.

            Apple hasn’t done anything amazingly new. They didn’t invent the PC. Tablet PCs have been around before, and flopped. Supporting technology, like 3G and WiFi, both non-Apple innovations, weren’t around then. The window interface, created by Xerox. The iPod, a more advanced walkman. iPhone, cell phones have been around for a while.

            What Apple has done is play on ego, made their product look great, and got their products on the “hot” list of to-have items. Kids, like my niece, who couldn’t afford an iPod went out and bought the earphones or ones that look like them so people thought they had an iPod. Appearance. The army taught me, amongst other things, appearance is the most important thing. If it looked good, it’s gotta be good. That’s why we had the best looking trucks on the side of the road.

            I don’t begrudge Apple making money, that’s what their in business for. And selling to ego, that’s nothing new or original (either), and they’re not the only “guilty” party. Updating old technology to new technology in a snazzy looking package is not innovation and it’s not revolutionary. Using those words dilutes their true meanings.

            What they’re doing with the EULA may not be too different than what other businesses are doing in practice, but it definitely is a making a bold statement. If they’re not called to task on it, industry will follow and we lose. They’ll take another step, and another, until eventually, yes they own what you create because you couldn’t create without them. What are you going to do at that point? Turn to another software package? Every other EULA says the exact same thing.

            But there’s always freeware, until a proprietary standard is forces the little guy into a niche.

            It’s also not a service, it’s a product. Selling or delivering what you create for you, that’s a service. Typing it for you, that’s a service. If they want to write my book for me and give me 97% of the cut, then I’m more than willing to use that service.

            Apple helps drive competition and I love them for it. They keep people employed, great! I don’t like their philosophy or their EULA. They have a right to try and crush the competition, they don’t have a right to what I create.

      3. D.C. Ross Avatar
        D.C. Ross

        Thank you for taking the time to reply. I completely agree with you on all points. My apologies, my original post was hastily written and I believe I got away from my original point. The point I meant to address was Apple’s apparent policy towards competition from anywhere. The example I was trying to illustrate regarding Adobe Flash on the iPhone/iPad. Some of the original users complained that since Apple’s advertisements for the iPhone promoted the ability to get to not just a mobile version of the web, but “the real” web. But when users complained they weren’t able to use “the real” web in its entirety, Apple shrugged away their request for Flash and said that they couldn’t make sure they could keep the users safe. Another reason was likely that people might watch T.V. shows for free on HULU rather than buying them from iTunes. Additionally, apps in iTunes have been rejected for inclusion or removed from iTunes because they competed with some part of Apple’s products or services. Of course it’s Apple’s game, field, and ball, so they can do whatever they like, and as you said, I can either take it or leave it. I chose to sign the contract and take it because there was no alternative–at least no legal alternative as per the terms of service which I also signed of my own free will, not under duress from the barrel of a gun.

        The point I was trying to address was more towards the similarity of the *attitude* of Apple and government in *some* respects. Being told that something is being done to protect me, while in reality protection can be a smoke-screen to cover other motives, such as to control what I am able to do with my iPhone… or my health care.

        Again, as you pointed out, I can break my contract with Apple and pay the agreed-upon consequences. The same holds true with most any other pure corporate entity.

        I am not in disagreement with you at all. My apologies if it seems so. Perhaps it was a poorly drawn comparison–and perhaps a personal problem I have with the way Apple has always done business. But I continue to talk on my iPhone and type on my Mac.

        However, the free market is a democracy where we all vote with our dollars and the only winner is always going to be the best product/service at the best price. Our republic, however, protects us from the tyranny of the majority–at least it should. But when a republic starts to control the natural democracy of a free market (people voting with their dollars) we get the kind of corruption we see everywhere.

        I hope I cleared up the point I tried to make. Again, it’s entirely possible it was a pointless point. Nevertheless, I wanted to re-reply and try and clear it up–or at least say, I didn’t mean to say what I did say by saying something else equally stupid.

        Regardless, Thank you for your reply.


    2. Mark Avatar

      You’re having a bit of an epiphany, and I hope you don’t lose it. OF COURSE Apple doesn’t value competition. That’s not in their interest. Has it ever occurred to you to wonder why there are only 2 computer giants? Mac and Windows? Why aren’t there more? Bc they prefer it that way. They get to split the market btwn them; having 1 competitor is better than having 5, 10, or 60. This way, no one gets a product on the market unless they allow it, meaning unless they get a piece of it. That’s how corporations work, and yes, they are anti-capitalist; they want gov’t protections, they want subsidies, they want tax credits, but they don’t want regulations. Corporations cooperate all the time when there’s a mutual interest. They invest in each other, a CEO/CFO of 1 company is on the BODs of others, etc. There really is no such thing as a free market, I hate to tell you. Markets will be controlled either from within or from without. When politicians and business leaders extol the virtues of the Free Market, they’re really saying that they want a very small number of companies and individuals to control the market from within–namely themselves. Real competition involves the real possibility of losing, and they do not want to lose.

  28. Claire Dyard Avatar
    Claire Dyard

    I agree with you. It’s awful! Imagine if MicroSoft just want to do the same. Or other software programers.

    1. Rita Avatar

      MicroSoft did try to do the same thing. It used to be (and may still be) that there is a clause in the end-user agreement for Hotmail that states (and I’m paraphrasing): “Anything you send through Hotmail belongs to MicroSoft.”

    2. Bryony Allen Avatar

      Hence the reason for using Oracle Open Office. A fantastic product that respects the meaning of the word creativity!

  29. Anonymous Asshole Avatar
    Anonymous Asshole

    Microsoft owns Word so they can do anything with it their tiny hearts desire and the market bears. So can Apple.

    It’s called freedom, liberty and capitalism. The strong rule. The weak deal with it, or create their own software.

    It can be ugly, unfair, and even tragic, but that what’s you get.

    The reason socialism and the like exist is because people got fed up with untrammeled, profit-driven, freedom and liberty. See how that worked out.

    1. Holly Avatar

      People have never had a chance for untrammeled, profit-driven freedom and liberty. Early in our history, the government stepped in and decided to accept bribes, favor some companies over others, restrict trade, and do all the other exciting things you can only do if you own the right to use force.

      Even the ratty-ass crippled capitalism we have now is better than socialism or communism, though, which killed tens millions in Nazi Germany, hundreds of millions in Soviet Russia, even more in Communist China, plus those murdered in Pol Pot’s Cambodia, in North Korea which is still starving to death with each according to his need not getting anything from each according to his ability, and on and on and on.

      Here’s Communism and socialism for you.

      1. Anonymous Asshole Avatar
        Anonymous Asshole

        Not arguing with you over political systems or whichever one it’s in fashion not to like now–I don’t really have a strong opinion.

        EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes, what you are doing is EXACTLY arguing over political systems. Clearly without any knowledge of what you’re discussing, too. —HOLLY

        I’m just saying untrammeled capitalism has existed and has been pretty grim too (serfs, anybody?). It goes without saying that communism and fascism has been recently horrific.

        Humans will ruin any political system once we get a taste of power and greed.

        Heck, we’ll ruin anything–even Apple.

        1. Chris Avatar

          Not to run down a rabbit hole, but please tell me where “untrammeled capitalism” has existed.

        2. Lee Avatar

          Hi there. Just wanted to make a quick response to something you said, that humans will ruin any political system once we get a taste of power and greed. I’m assuming you think that communism is a viable political system? That it would have worked just fine where it’s been tried if humans had not ruined things? I just wanted to ask you if you have actually read Marx’s Communist Manifesto (and, btw, yes, I have). If you have read it (or if you go read it now) and you still believe communism is workable, well, then, I’d be interested to know that. That you have read it and you think it’s good and would work and be a good thing.

        3. Holly Avatar

          Capitalism, which is the exchange of value for value by mutual consent, has NEVER been tried. There has always been some thug with a god or a gun or a whip in what acted as government to make sure of that.

          The US got close in its early years, and the resulting burst of creative energy created more wealth and innovation than the world had ever seen. And then free trade was smothered by government interference, and the country has been edging toward self-destruction ever since.

          1. Me Avatar

            I really am not arguing for communism or against capitalism or pushing any political system. Those folks in Scandinavia seem to be pretty happy with their socialism, but I wouldn’t want to pay those taxes, so I’m not arguing for that either.

            The problem is there will always be a thug, or strong man, or people who use religion to control, or people who want things to be fair, or people who want to control other people with power (such as Apple!).

            You can opt out of using anything because you’re mad at the decision made of how they used THEIR property.

            You can try to influence others to bring pressure get them to change how they use THEIR property for your benefit.

            The next step is to make a rule/law that software companies not be allowed to do what Apple is doing.

            And that is the beginning of the end of freedom, or the end of untrammeled capitalism.

            Getting upset about how a corporation chooses to use what is theirs seem to fly in the face of the freedom and liberty often being preached here.

            It’s just my opinion, since I don’t have a horse in this race. Apple has a good product and I will use it as it suits my needs. If it doesn’t do that, I’ll stop.

            It’s outside of my ken to tell Apple how to run its business.

  30. Susan Avatar

    Again? I must do math again? (It didn’t seem to take the first comment. And are you sure humans can do arithmetic?)

    I believe the issue at hand is “fee-based software.” Apple may be afraid that publishing Works produced this way could put them in line to be sued. It depends on the licensing agreement of the software.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hi, Susan,

      You hadn’t posted here before, and I have the site set to allow me to manually read all comments before I approve them. It cuts WAY down on Viagra posts.

  31. Victory Avatar

    And that is one of the many reasons I want nothing to do with Apple at all. Call me cynical but Apple has a ton of lawyers who go over every word that they write about every product they make. They know what that clause says, they reviewed it and okay’d it. It means just what it says.

    Just like you can’t use Microsoft’s Home and Student, (non-commercial) version to write for profit, (or even non-profit) either.

    1. Holly Avatar

      The difference with Home and Student versions is that you can buy the commercial upgrade, and your work will not require the changing of a single comma. You’ll be able to use it as is.

  32. Susan Avatar

    First, you assume all humans can do simple arithmetic.

    Second, it looks like the caveat has to do with producing the Work through “fee-based software.” The issue might be the legality of iApple passing along those products. The problem might be with the software rights rules and Apple doesn’t want to be sued.

    1. Holly Avatar

      On the simple arithmetic, I figured it would be easier than trying to read those blurry, twisted, impossible letter combinations that most captcha programs use, and that drive my eyes crazy.

      Second, my comment to Apple would be, “If you don’t want to give people the freedom to uses your software for creation to create what THEY want and distribute it where THEY want, you’re in the wrong business.”

      1. Lee Avatar

        “If you don’t want to give people the freedom to uses your software for creation to create what THEY want and distribute it where THEY want, you’re in the wrong business.”

        Spot on, Holly! You are absolutely right. Apple is not afraid of being sued, IMHO. Nope. They are absolutely afraid of being left out in the cold in the ebook biz and they are using a chicken **** method of coping with their fear instead of a realistic and ethical method, ie, making their service better and attracting more business the sane way. Very sad to see it happen. Not sad to see Holly pulling books, she’s right to do that and it makes me glad to see that she has the cajones to stand up to them. But sad to see Apple acting so paranoid and idiotic. They’re afraid of losing so they act like losers. And lose.

        1. J Clark Avatar
          J Clark

          Out of curiosity, as has been pointed out by other commenters, how is iBooks Author any different from, say, the Windows Phone software development kit? You use their tool to make a piece of software, then you’re limited to their platform. You’re free to take it and redo it fo other platforms though.

          1. Christian Kernodle Avatar
            Christian Kernodle

            J Clark, It isn’t any different. The only difference is the audience. Which is why some of us see the “moral panic” as rather silly. That isn’t to say that Holly, or anyone else, can’t be upset and protest a fairly standard developer EULA.

            Personally I say “Rock on!”, but Apple isn’t going to change this EULA. First, the file would be useless on any platform other than iOS. Second, Apple will never allow a competing store on the iOS platform. Third, this software relies on several proprietary libraries which Apple will not give away. Seems a little hypocritical to ask Apple to give their Intellectual Property away, wouldn’t you say?

  33. Gaylene Avatar

    Thanks for the info, Holly. I shared your post on twitter and FB. Interesting stuff.

  34. Bryden Yeo Avatar
    Bryden Yeo

    Go Holly 🙂 Tell that software company who’s boss lol. I think it’s cool that you stand up for people when you see rights being taken away. The world needs more voices like you.

  35. Ray Johnson Avatar
    Ray Johnson

    I agree with Holly. What I don’t understand in these comments is why anyone would object to her decision. She is the author. She owns the work she creates. That gives her the ultimate authority to decide what she does – or does not – want to do with it.

    As I said, I agree with her. But, even if she decided not to sell books through a certain site for a trivial reason, isn’t that her right? Neither Apple, nor Amazon, nor any other publisher or site or service has any inherent right to sell books for any particular author. The author gets to choose when, and how, and under what terms, they will publish.

    Yes, I’m sad when authors whose work I enjoy don’t offer it in formats or markets I find convenient. As a fan, I don’t feel it is unfair to at least contact them, to ask if they’ve considered this or that option, and give my reasons for hoping that they will decide to add it. But anything beyond that is unreasonable.

    This is the very principle Holly is defending here. We have the right to our own work, without anyone else sneaking in claims on it that we don’t willingly grant by contract. We only lose right to our own work when we choose to sign those rights away. What if a pen manufacturer were to included a clause on the back of the package that they were entitled to an interest in any works written using that pen? As a practical matter, that would of course be unenforceable, but as an ethical matter, there is no difference between a pen and software. They are both tools.

    1. Ray Johnson Avatar
      Ray Johnson

      Please forgive the typo, which hid in some other dimension until my comment posted.

    2. Holly Avatar

      Thanks, Ray.

    3. Zen Writer Avatar

      We sometimes make decisions quickly and then change them later. This forum is a discussion of the implications and ramifications of the clause itself. Holly original post spoke to freedom of choice and I don’t think anyone disrespects the choice she made. But sometimes having others’ points of view can help shape and either cement or change that choice.

    4. Nicholas Bollaert Avatar
      Nicholas Bollaert

      I didn’t think anyone objected to her decision, just offering opinions… Although I haven’t read the whole thread yet.

    5. Frederick Gonzalez Avatar
      Frederick Gonzalez

      “Freedom of speech” is not “freedom from response.” Holly is acting from a moral principle, so you’ll find the dissenting opinions take one or more of the following forms:

      1. Argument that the moral principle is misapplied in this instance.
      2. Argument against the moral principle in favor of one that contradicts in some fashion.
      3. Arguments about capitalism, especially concerning the poster and their desire to purchase Holly’s books.

      You’ll notice that all of them tie into the existential identity of the people posting, just as Holly’s decision to withdraw her products ties into her own existential identity. On that level, they’re the same thing.

  36. Zen Writer Avatar

    My first Mac had problems… was not that long ago… Was Leopard I think, which I guess was in 2007, it was buggy and not the stable workhorse everyone else claimed it to be… for me. So I went back to Windows for a bit and returned to Mac with the MacBook Air running Lion. And I agree with Holly. This system is rock solid. The only app that fails on me is FaceTime and generally I think that is due to lost internet connectivity, not to the program itself.

  37. Laraine Anne Barker Avatar

    So doesn’t the same thing apply to books “assembled” in Amazon’s Kindle software? Or do they allow anyone to sell/distribute books in Kindle format?

    1. Holly Avatar

      Nope. Kindle is an open system. You put your books on the system, the books are there. Even if they’re really, really bad books, Kindle will still put them on the site.

      The books are then readable on your iPad or other tablet, on your Android phone, on your iPhone, on your computer (no matter what OS you use) on Kindle devices of all sorts. The writer is not submitting work to a closed market with one outlet, which then claims the right to block the creator from use of his work in the format in which the work was created.

      It’s the issue that Kindle software isn’t software you create in. It’s a format you distribute in. Hell, there might be one or two hardcore cases who write their books in first draft in proprietary Kindle format, but MOBI is not created for that.

      Kindle format is not a word processor, in other words.

      Apple’s iBook Author IS a word processor. A free one, and like most free things, it has a nasty fishhook in the middle of its sweet, gooey “free.”

      I believe in “caveat emptor” or the responsibility of the consumer to watch out for his own best interests. I also believe in the necessity of ethics in business, and Apple is failing in a big way to demonstrate that here.

      1. J Clark Avatar
        J Clark

        I don’t believe that the Kindle system is actually an open one. Just because Amazon makes software for different OS platforms doesn’t make it open. You can’t take a Kindle book and open it in any other program, or open it on any platform Amazon doesn’t support (if there are any, but it’s the principle).

        A mobi book is NOT a Kindle book. The Kindle format is AZW, a DRMed format based on Mobi that can only be read by Amazon sanctioned software. The fact that Kindles can also read non-DRMed mobi files doesn’t make them any more open. iBooks can read non-DRMed ePub and PDF files in the same way.

        I believe the disconnect between what Apple intends and what you are upset about is happening in what sort of software iBook Author is. If you consider it as an SDK or as a service, it makes sense. Maybe they should have presented it as such, but then calling it “iBook Author” kind of speaks to that.

    2. Kevin McLaughin Avatar

      Yes, they do. Smashwords sells mobi books. So does the Baen ebookstore. Lots of authors sell mobi (Kindle format) books from their websites. Amazon released (and regularly updates) the Mobipocket software which allows for fast and easy conversion to mobi format, which they then allow the user to sell ANYWHERE.

      It’s very, very different from what Apple is doing.

  38. Barbara Cunningham Avatar
    Barbara Cunningham

    I do not purchase Apple products because I do not care for the absolute control Apple extends over its products. Others are free to purchase and use Apple products; that is their choice and decision. I have used PC’s for years and rarely have had the issues which drove Holly to use Apple products. Of course, I have built my own computers, which says something about my level of comfort with technology. My husband, however, while comfortable at using technology, has no interest in knowing how it works. I applaud Holly for her response to the EULA and her decision to remove her products from Apple’s iBookstore. We, as consumers, have the right to spend or not spend our money as we desire. I do not purchase Sony products and have not for years, because of the rootkit issue. I do not purchase from Amazon because of their actions a couple of years ago selling ebooks for their Kindle to which they had no rights and then removing the products without prior notice to the consumer. I’m only one person, but it’s my money, and I explain my decisions whenever asked.

    Good for you, Holly.

    1. Holly Avatar


      And choice in your personal actions is the absolute issue here.

      People who choose to accept the risk of using Apple iBooks Author knowing that Apple can, without explanation or penalty, block their use of the work created on the word processor it offered them for free may do so.

      And I may look at the ethics of their creating a product for creation, and then reserving the right to block the creators from using that work as they choose, and decide that I would rather take the loss of some of my income than support their platform.

    2. Libby Cuskelly Avatar

      I entirely agree with Barbara here. I recently considered moving from PC to Apple but decided against it because of what I saw as a kind of holding their consumers to ransom. I was not comfortable with a company that, once it sold you a product, felt it had the right to dictate how you used that product. To me it is like buying a CD from a band you love only to be told by the band that you must only play that CD on a system only they can sell you for a large sum of money. So I have stayed with PC and I can’t imagine it causing a ripple in the fabric of the universe, but my decision sits well with me.
      Thanks Holly for drawing attention to this issue. I think as e-publishing becomes more mainstream it’s imperative that authors equip themselves with knowledge about the industry in all its forms and the things that may effect their future work.

  39. Martyn Chandley Avatar
    Martyn Chandley

    I have never touched Apple hardware. software or Apps because of the closed mentality that Apple have taken over the years. They are worse than my nemesis Microsoft (is that some kind of toilet tissue?). Apple force users of it’s goods to use proprietry equipment, add-ons, software and so on at a greater price than would be the case if the door was thrown open and honest competition allowed.

    Yes, Apple kit looks sweet and cool. However, they’ve taken a good OS and bastardised it to the extent that it’s proprietry – yes it’s Linux but you try adding to it without Apples consent.

    Then there is iTunes. Get yourself stuck with that and you are stuck at paying over the odds and stuck with DRM for good.

    So folks, don’t bother with Apple, go independent, go Microsoft if you really have to but don’t touch Apple with the proverbial….

    1. Holly Avatar

      Martyn, Windows IS honest competition (well, if you exclude its use of force in jamming IE on every computer that licenses its OS, and a few other issues). Except that it’s kludgy and buggy and insecure and eats your work all the time, and crashes, and just in general sucks.

      Unix is honest competition, but doesn’t get the following Apple does because it’s damned unfriendly.

      I don’t want to have to program the goddamned machine. I want it to work, so I can work. Apple creates products that get out of the way and let you work.

      I have every Apple computer I’ve ever owned, and they all still work. I moved up when I needed better specs to do things like videos and courses and my monster sites—but I’ve never had a single crash (as in Blue Screen of Death, not hardware failure) on a single computer and I have now owned…six. Not including the iPad.

      The only hardware failure I’ve EVER had was a screen failure on my current Mac. I had Apple Care. Took it to the Apple Store. Had it back in three days with a new screen that would have cost me three times what Apple Care did.

      And when I’ve called the company with problems, they’ve picked up the phone, answered politely and cheerfully, and helped me solve it.

      When you have a better experience, let me know with whom and with what, and I’ll check them out.

      1. Brad Avatar

        yeah apple strikes again. I feel your pain and think you made the right decision.

        Linux did have a bad reputation a couple years ago, but since the days of ubuntu, I can say with absolute confidence that its easier to install and use than windows. I switched after loosing all my work to a virus again and haven’t looked back.

        The only problem comes in if you want to use software that is only written for windows or OS X, and don’t like the free alternatives found in the software centre.

        If you’re interested in seeing how far its come, you can go to for an online mock-up.

    2. Zen Writer Avatar


      iTunes software is not, IMHO, the problem. I buy all my music from Amazon which is mp3 and which is DRM-free and I play my music in iTunes. Don’t like Amazon, Napster is back, and there are other services too… Their music all plays in iTunes just fine. And again, IMHO, Windows Media Player sucks.

      Top 10 Best and drm-free online music stores

      1. Holly Avatar

        You can buy DRM-free music on iTunes. I do it all the time.

        1. Zen Writer Avatar

          That was not always possible so I avoided buying from iTunes. I just read that there is DRM free music on iTunes after I posted the above. Pricing still tends to be lower per song/album on Amazon and Napster than on iTunes.

          1. Lee Avatar

            The difference (a big one, to me) is that I can download DRM-free music from iTunes in their lossless AAC format at 256kb/s and from Amazon I can only download MP3. At one time I think those MP3’s were lower than 256kb/s but I think now they’re at 256. They’re still MP3’s, though. May not make a difference to some, and in a pinch (when I’ve identified a song I hear playing in a shop somewhere and have to have it right then and there) I’ve been known to download from Amazon with their app on my Blackberry phone because I can’t put iTunes on it.

            But back to the main topic. I agree with you, Holly, 100%. I’ve been a Mac user for over a year now and do not want to even entertain the notion of returning to MS Windows for anything at all. I use inexpensive yet elegant and useful software on my new Mac machines to do all sorts of wonderful things and have even found much freeware that is also elegant and useful. It’s a whole other world and I love it.

            But I’ll be damned if any piece of frakkin’ software is going to tell me, the intelligent creative human being using said software, what I can do with what I create with said software. The only thing I have iBooks on is my iPod and the only things on that bookshelf are some PDF’s so I can annotate them. Now that this issue has come to light, I just may delete the whole goram thing from my iPod and be done with it.

            Btw, love your new site look, Holly. Shiny! 🙂

            1. J Clark Avatar
              J Clark

              Just an FYI, the AAC format is not lossless. It’s actually a variation on the lossy MPEG standard that MP3 is based on. The difference is that AAC is a newer, more efficient format that better preserves audio fidelity and produces a smaller file.

              Apple does have a lossless format called “Apple Lossless” (creative huh?), but the files are many times larger than AAC files.

    3. Laraine Anne Barker Avatar

      Apple did allow manufacturers to make Mac clones at one stage. And what happened? Consumers landed up with a great pile of absolute junk. Mine lasted a mere five years and a friend who bought one had no end of trouble with his, though it lasted longer than mine. This clone is the only computer I’ve had break down on me before I was ready to upgrade by buying another, and I’ve used Mac machines since 1 May 1986.

      1. Holly Avatar

        Bingo. Apple has a desperate, live-or-die vested interest in making sure its machines work, because the software works only on its machines, and if the machines are crap, no one will buy the software. And the software is where the profit is.

        So Apple makes breathtakingly good machines, and software that works beautifully on its machines. Because if it doesn’t, I know, and so does everyone else, that there’s cheaper stuff out there.

        And if you don’t mind splinters in your ass, you can use a rough-hewn log as a sliding board, and save yourself some bucks there as well.

        1. Lee Avatar

          That last line made me laugh out loud! 😀

  40. Holly Avatar

    And once again, if Microsoft Word required its users to decompile any works created on its software if selling them anywhere other than on its proprietary platform, would you think this was a problem?

    1. Matt Forbeck Avatar

      Of course it would be a problem, but as I pointed out, there are ready solutions and not terribly onerous ones at that. If Microsoft used a similar EULA to that of iBooks Author and had an ecosystem I cared to bother with (like iTunes), I’d write the story in something else, copy it over to MS Word, generate the file, and sell it on their platform.

      1. Lee Avatar


        But it’s kind of the principle of the thing…

        The least bit being that if you let the clause go by you with just a passing nod, what else are you willing to put up with?

  41. Susan Avatar

    So, you were morally offended that gov’t funded grants of non-commercial fiction amounted to slavery, but you buy from Apple? Look into Foxconn, the company Apple contracted to manufacture all its products in China. Workers make $.31 an hour and work shifts as long as 30 hours. They have to live in factory dorms, isolated from family, and any talk of unionizing gets a 12 yr prison sentence. Worker suicides were at such a high rate that they had to install nets and bars on windows to keep employees from leaping to their deaths. That’s slavery. I will never buy anything Apple.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Sweetie, government grants of money taken at gunpoint from the people who produce it is the same system of government Communist China, the old Soviet Russia, and Nazi Germany used. It’s called communism or socialism, and there is no good version.

      It’s what our government is fighting like hell to become. If you don’t like the way China is run, you need to look at your own country.

  42. Me Avatar

    A little confused. It’s called liberty and freedom.

    Just because folks are free to do what they want with their creations, property, money, what-have-you, doesn’t make what they decide to do fair, equitable, or even moral.

    It’s that little bit of human nature the liberty and freedom folks gloss over.

    Hopefully, Amazon or Google will make software just as nifty as Apple, and then what Apple does will cease to be an issue.

    In the meantime, if one wants really cool books with interactive using software that Apple owns and created, one will have to sell those books in the bookstore Apple also owns, and not be able to use that file created elsewhere. One will have to take the trouble to use other software to modify the material to use it elsewhere.

    Or, you can make rules and regulations to curtail business and individual freedom to do what one wants with the stuff one owns and creates. We have those sort of rules. Some think such rules are crucial and needed. Some think these sort of rules fly in the face of liberty and freedom.

    We should choose one side and be consistent.

  43. Matt Forbeck Avatar

    Sure, but then you’d use something else. I’m a big fan of Scrivener, for instance, and there’s always Open Office and Unix if you want to go that far along that line of reasoning.

    1. Holly Avatar

      I love Scrivener.

      If it becomes impossible for me to work on Apple computers, I’ll go to Unix.

      I’ll never go back to Windows. Ye ghods, what hell that was.

      1. Kevin McLaughin Avatar

        Oddly, I *never* get a crash in Windows 7. Used to use XP for years and years, with few issues. Then there was the Vista debacle. But now Win7 seems if anything more stable than XP.

        I know Mac has a *superb* rep for stability. And it’s well earned. Part of why they’re so stable is the Walled Garden they erect over their devices, which is a chunk of what you’re protesting here, Holly.

        But Windows is not doing too badly these days. I use my computer on average probably 6-10 hours a day. In the year since I bought this little Win7 laptop (Asus), it’s never crashed, never bluescreened, never had a virus issue, and I’ve never had to mess with settings or do anything else complex with it. It’s simply a breeze to use. =)

        Your mileage may vary, of course. 😉

  44. Zen Writer Avatar

    Well interestingly enough, I should think, even if you were to use their software, and even if it were rejected, you would need to “re-create” the work using something else, right? So you copy and paste the text from the offending software into the non-offending software and then you delete the copy that was in the offending software.

    Apple is a behemoth of proprietarianistic behaviors. They don’t want you publishing into their proprietary format generated by their software if they reject the work for distribution. In other words, they don’t want their product (that created the work) associated with the rejected work. This is especially important to Apple’s reputation (at least in their eyes).

    Imagine this extreme but quite potentially real scenario:
    An author produces a work of hate-speech, smut, or otherwise offensive content. Apple rejects it for publication. Apple won’t want any part of the piece, if eventually published somewhere, to reference back to them Because of metadata and proprietary formats and “this eBook produced using x software” tagging, I can understand their hope that you will comply with their policy to not use that software to publish elsewhere if rejected by Apple.

    Of course, Apple says they can reject for any reason, so the non-extreme cases, where Apple would not be associated with offensive material, lose out in this situation.

    I am in no way stating that I agree with Apple’s policy here but I can understand why the clause is in there.


    1. Holly Avatar

      And if Microsoft Word added the same caveat to anything created and published on it, would you still think the same way?

      1. Kevin McLaughin Avatar

        I’d stop using MS Word.

        Wait, I already don’t use MS Word, I use Libre Office… 😉 But the point is the same. Don’t like a EULA? Don’t use the software.

        But if writers stopped working with a publisher or retailer because of a bad contract, then NO writer would ever work with any NYC publisher ever again. ‘Cause they’ve ALL issued some doozies more than once. 😉

        1. Holly Avatar

          And the reason I’m self publishing now is…?

          1. Kevin O. McLaughlin Avatar

            Well yeah. Me too. 😉

            But it’s not like this is the first time Apple has created a really nasty EULA on something. They’re pretty well known for their hyper-protective clauses. I soft of think we ought to do what we’ve always done with Apple: walk around their quaint little roadblocks and find another wat.

      2. Zen Writer Avatar

        Interesting question. My gut response is yes. But let me ruminate on it for a bit and formulate a reasoned response.

        1. Zen Writer Avatar

          Well, in my original statement I said that I do not agree with the policy, only that I can understand, to a degree, why, I am guessing, the clause is in there. So, if MS Word were to institute something similar, I would dislike and disagree with that policy and I would likely look for another software program to generate content on in the same way that you are using a different software program to produce your ebooks than the one that contains this clause.

          But that does not mean that I would stop adding my books to ibooks. I just would not do it using that software with that clause. You don’t like the clause in the software, don’t use the software, but you do not need to stop publishing to iBookstore altogether.

          I feel like I just rambled. Did that make sense?

    2. Charlotte Lenox Avatar

      I can kind of understand where this is going, but using this example and explanation… would people really think Apple was to blame if someone used their proprietary format for this nonsense? I suppose that would depend on context. Generally, I’d say Apple was no more responsible than Microsoft would be if that same nonsense was distributed as a .docx file made in Word. However, if it becomes common knowledge that anything in Apple’s format received approval from Apple itself, that could cause a lot of reputation problems for them. In that case, I think your example works.

      I’ve honestly never used this particular bit of software so I can’t say I know exactly what the context is.

  45. Ian Avatar

    Apple makes good stuff but its marketing policies stink! They’re out to squeeze every last $ out of its customers by selling, let’s be honest, vastly over-priced, stuff to people who value looks more than value. Yep, lot of them around 🙂 This could be Appple’s marketing policy: never underestimate the intelligence of the buying public!

    So this isn’t surprising. However, not many people will read it and even less take note.

    Well done, Holly!

    1. Holly Avatar

      Until you’ve worked on a Mac, you think it’s overpriced. After you’ve gone ten years without having to reboot, or losing so much as a paragraph of your writing to anything other than your own error, tell me the same thing.

      Because that’s been my experience with Macs. My experience with Windows was the Blue Screen of Death, and the loss of anything I didn’t save every five minutes.

      1. Holly Avatar

        And I do have one Windows computer now. Alienware, recent manufacture, most current version of the most current OS.

        And my experience with it is?

        Crashing, fucking around with .ini files, losing content, reinstalling, endless freaking updates, and checking everything for viruses all the damn time.

        Same old Windows as ten years ago. Actually, as about thirteen years ago. Damn. Time flies.

        1. Zen Writer Avatar

          Holly your Alienware computer would be far better, far more stable and less buggy if Alienware were still a standalone PC maker. They CARED about product quality and produced it consistently. Unfortunately Dell bought the startup and the quality of the Alienware brand suffered even though the pricing didn’t drop. I am afraid that in this case you paid extra for branding but got Dell’s typical mediocre compilation of components sourced from the cheapest supplier. But hey it LOOKS cool, right?

        2. Lee Avatar


          I must be incredibly lucky. I’ve been messing with MS since Commodore went belly up. The only major problem was the one hard drive crash I had where I lost a huge chunk of my life’s work. But even then, I’ve learned every bit of that was 100% recoverable were it not for my own ignorance.

          Oh well.

          The updates are indeed a pain. I’ve only ever gotten the Blue Screen of Death while playing some game or other.

          My current machine I built about a year ago… only problem I’ve ever had was it suddenly shutting off at random moments.

          Come to find out, the PSU wasn’t putting out the required ampage for my vidcard. Put in a more powerful unit sometime mid last year and I haven’t had any probs yet.

          My book I just had Hitch produced in Nook/Kindle was produced on Word 2K7.

          But I do keep hearing horror stories about that… screen.

  46. Kevin McLaughin Avatar

    Holly, I suspect that they didn’t consider the wording here very carefully. I also suspect it’s not actually enforceable, if it gets challenged in court. Lastly, I strongly suspect they’re going to get rid of it soon. 😉 There’s been a LOT of backlash all over the net about this one.

    That said, I’m not pulling my iBooks down, and I’m not sure it makes sense to pull yours down either.

    I’ve put mine up there via Smashwords. This works fine. Smashwords gets a little percentage of sales made through them, I get 60% of the cover price, and everyone is happy. I don’t have a Mac, myself, so going through someone like Smashwords is my only way to publish to iBooks.

    Yes, I’ve always found their approach to this annoying. The whole “you must have a Mac to work with us directly” thing is Apple being obnoxious for the sake of being obnoxious. But I still publish through them anyway.

    Likewise, their agreement says that any work you produce with their software can only be sold through them. Not any work IN THAT FORMAT – so you can still, I think, make an epub through another tool and sell it elsewhere.

    But why would you bother? Just say “pass” on Apple’s new software til they fix their EULA. Make your doggone epubs through other free or cheap tools, upload them, sell them. Everywhere.

    Even on iBooks, although to be honest, Apple is a really tiny ebook market.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Apple IS a tiny market. I supported it BECAUSE it was a tiny market, because I believe in free market competition, and because I do not want to see one platform (say, ah, Amazon) devour all other platforms. This is the primary reason I won’t sign up to use Amazon’s Prime.

      But Apple has badly overreached, and because of the principles I hold, I cannot give them even tacit support in this action, even though it does not affect me personally.

  47. Nicholas Bollaert Avatar
    Nicholas Bollaert

    I agree that it is a terrible precedent and plain stupid… But I am less incensed than you are.

    It seems to me that Apple intended to provide a tool to make it easier to sell books in their iBook store/format, and they only want the tool used for that purpose. Seems typical of Apple :-p

    They appear to be claiming the rights to the formatting only, not the text… correct?

    So still dumb.

    1. Holly Avatar

      They are claiming rights to the text in their formatting. Assuming you use or ever have used Word, would you find it appropriate if Word did the same?

      1. Nicholas Bollaert Avatar
        Nicholas Bollaert

        Of course not, and maybe I am being too lenient on them. But my read of the article you linked was less that Apple was producing a free word processor and more “Hey we realize formatting for iBooks is a pain, so we will provide a free/easy way to do it but only for actual use with iBooks, naught more.”

        However, even if that is true, I would concede that this would be a terrible precedent to set, so I do support your decision.

  48. Rahma Krambo Avatar

    This is troubling indeed. I have a book available through iTunes, but it was distributed through Smashwords. Any thoughts on whether the issue would be the same?

    I think I can un-check the iTunes option on Smashwords, (which btw, has never paid me a cent from any of the 3rd party distributors, but that’s another issue.) It wouldn’t be much of a loss.

    Thanks for the heads up on this.

    1. Kevin McLaughin Avatar

      No, this doesn’t affect Smashwords. It only affects books actually formatted into ebook form using the new software Apple announced yesterday.

    2. Holly Avatar

      At the moment, if you’re not using Apple iBooks Author, the issue affects you only in principle. The question being, are you willing to use a publisher who has demonstrated the ethics shown by that clause, knowing that one of the clauses in the Apple contract is the right to change its terms of service without notice?

  49. Leah Avatar

    One reason why I don’t use Apple products. They want complete control over everything. They want to be able to tell you exactly how and when you will use their product. You can’t use their product in combination with anyone else’s product and you can’t change their product in ANY way to make it not like everyone else’s product.

    1. Charlie Avatar

      You’re showing business ignorance. They are controlling content and quality to avoid devaluing the whole line. Sell your books wherever you want. You’re free to do so. Heck even iBooks Author allows you to do so in PDF format… Gee, they’re so limiting you.

      1. Holly Avatar

        Have you ever put an ebook together, Charlie? Ever?

        A PDF is NOT THE SAME. A PDF does not reflow text, it does not permit saving quotes on your hardware, it does not allow ANY special features.

        The author, to have an ebook, WHICH IS NOT A PDF, will have to take the text back to plain text, which does not preserve fonts, formatting, headers, footers, pagination, italics, boldface, underlining, indenting, justification, or any of the other many, many things you have to do to make an ebook into an ebook.

        So YES. Gee, they really ARE limiting you.

        PDFs on the Kindle are bad, and they’re not great on the iPad, and I’m not crazy about them on the computer (I always print them out to read) which is why I and a lot of other folks are moving away from PDFs for creating stuff you read for fun or information.

        And to get to your other comment, if you have to undo all the work you had to do in order to get the text in a form that will allow you to transfer it to a new, workable ebook for, THAT IS DE-COMPILING.

        If you’ve never worked with creating stuff in .epub, .mobi, and print, you are offering opinions based on no knowledge. Which I suppose would be you showing YOUR ignorance.

        1. Lee Avatar

          Heh heh heh. Ahem. Charlie, I hope you ducked, cuz I saw that comin’ when I read your comment.

  50. Matt Forbeck Avatar

    Thanks for the explanation, Holly. I agree that the clause is rotten, although I’m a bit more sanguine about it. The easy solution is to not use the software and to advocate for others to do the same — or at least to understand what they’re getting into if they do.

    Technically, Apple doesn’t claim ownership of your work in the EULA. It says you can distribute anything made with iBooks Author freely if you like. However, if you plan to charge for those products, you can only sell them through the iBooks store. That’s not a claim of ownership but rather a restriction on trade.

    The EULA also doesn’t prevent you from taking the exact same content you’ve developed and repurposing it in another program and then using it elsewhere. It’s only the specific output generated by iBooks Author that’s restricted.

    So, if you use a different program to create the book and other editions of it, you could then use iBooks Author to generate the iBook store-only version of it and be free of any restrictions.

    Still, they’re your books, and it’s your right to do with your content as you please. I appreciate you speaking up about all this, and I respect your stance on the matter.

    1. Holly Avatar

      I understand the clause. It would be like Microsoft stating that you can use anything you create in Word, so long as you disassemble it first and completely reassemble it in other software.