I'd love to hear what others think about this. It looks like a neat thing to use, but I do have big concerns about the IP aspect of things.
Hi Barbara, Apple's announcement did get everyone's attention in this space, and probably for good reason - they sure do have a history of disruptive innovations that shake up established markets.
There's a lot of confusion swirling round about their iBook publisher and potential pitfalls. Here is my take:
- one of the issues is around their end user license agreement (EULA) and what it permits and doesn't permit. The consensus now seems to be that if you use their iBook authoring tool and want to SELL your book, you are required to do so through their iBooks store. If you want to GIVE your book away for free (for instance, if you are involved with the open education/open textbooks movement) then no such restriction is placed on you.
- the other consideration which isn't getting as much press is Apple playing a bit fast and loose with standards. Currently the most widely adopted open standard for eBooks is ePub. ePub, however, does not currently handled rick media embedded in books. This is something Apple wants to promote as part of their vision for next generation electronic books. This is admirable. But instead of waiting for the standard to evolve, they have gone ahead on their own and so this tool with produce a new type of file. As this unfolds, it may well turn out that Apple leads the way and the open standard incorporates their innovations. This can often happen. But until then, books authored on Apple's free iBook authroing tool will only open in its reader. It is also possible that other readers will start to support this format, but this is a dangerous precedent in my eyes.
Love to hear if other people have a different read on this. I can dig up references if you like.
Yes, I'm suspicious of anything proprietary to begin with, although I used a Pages template to format a bunch of my book. The Apple approach appears to be an extension of their approach to approving Apps and selling them in the App Store. Do you know, can you use their development template/software without selling the item in their store?
Yes, I believe you can author a book with their software but give it away. But you can NOT sell it except for from their store.
Barbara, I just wouldn't get into bed with Apple's arrangements. They're control freaks and you can easily get around that. There are applications out there for converting web sites, rss feeds and the whole gammut of content into e-book formats. You can also go to Amazon publisher and they'll convert it all for you and put it into their store. You'll be better doing it via Amazon than a specific manufacturers site even if it is Apple.
There's also things like Calibre software for converting from one ebook format to another and for creating ebooks from scratch. They can even be saved in pdf, epub or mobi (or all 3) so that they can be read on any device.
When you create and post to Amazon I think you give away a good chunk of the price but you set that price in the first place. Plus you'll get one of the most popular shop windows there is. In addition, Amazon won't kick back your book like Apple might. You can publish whatever you like whenever you like for whatever price you like.
There's other options too but I've gone on long enough. Just don't be phased by all that iStuff gloss and hype or it'll cost you long term.