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Not Exactly the Apple Of My Eye

January 24, 2012

I’ve talked a lot about Amazon on this blog.  I haven’t said much about Apple.  Mostly, that’s because the subjects of “Apple” and “Writing” rarely cross paths in the news.

But they’ve crossed paths, recently, with the reveal of the new EULA for Apple’s iBooks Author platform.  And the early reviews are, shall we say, not stellar.  Says techie guru Ed Bott from ZDNet (a prominent tech industry web-zine), this EULA is “mind-bogglingly greedy” – effectively forcing the users of Apple’s iBooks Author platform to sell publications created in that platform exclusively through Apple’s iBooks/iTunes store. 

To follow that up, they appear to be taking aim at ebook publishing standards with the probable goal of removing the open standard EPUB version from competition with their new iBooks format.

And of course… you’ll need a $500 iPad to buy those fancy new iBooks.  Because, hey, cool, interactive books!  Who doesn’t have half-a-grand to drop just for the right to maybe purchase interactive books sold exclusively by Apple?  (Answer: I, for one, do not yet own an iPad, nor any other variety of tablet/slate computer.  So do a lot of other people.  And I’m not exactly on the “poor” end of the rich-poor spectrum.  I’m not on the “rich” end, either, but I’m still on the “can’t afford to spend frivolously on an iPad” end.) 

So lest it be said that I’m simply an Amazon-hater because of the many posts that I’ve written about Amazon that are potentially read as negative, let it therefore be shown that it’s not Amazon, per se, that get’s me: it’s anything that hurts writers and/or readers and favors corporations who have nothing to do with either and/or which is anticompetitive.  Those sorts of things?  I’m not a fan of them.  I’m a really huge un-fan of them.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 24, 2012 9:24 am

    I was planning to write about this, too.

    I had to read a few different articles about it because I had trouble believing how awful it actually is. I kept thinking I must be misunderstanding it somehow.

    People complain about Bill Gates, but he never claimed that Microsoft owned exclusive rights over everything created with Word. 🙂

    • January 24, 2012 10:24 am

      That was exactly the parallel I was thinking. What would people think if Microsoft (which is known to have done some pretty nasty things in its history) required anything created in MS Word to be sold exclusively through a Microsoft store? You can bet there’d have been some serious anti-trust crackdowns and lawsuits over that. Considering how many authors use Word as their primary composition tool… it would have some pretty huge implications for writers. And Word isn’t even targeted at Writers as a class of customers. iBooks Author clearly is.

  2. January 24, 2012 5:03 pm

    Just one more reason I’ve never gotten into Apple products, heh.

    I like how nowadays when you’re searching for an MP3 player store associates are like, “You mean an iPod?”

    No, I mean an MP3 player–one that isn’t actually made by Apple. You still got any of those?

    *blank stare*

    • January 25, 2012 8:31 am

      I agree wholeheartedly. And what’s more, most people seem to think Apple invented mp3 players – when in fact that’s simply not the case (there were a number of mp3 players on the market before the iPod, though none as nice looking as Apple’s). I have a Sansa Fuze, and I love it. It’s easy to use (just plug it in and transfer files like you would to any flash drive). The best part? You don’t have to download iTunes! (I know Apple has a great reputation for easy-to-use software and slick UIs, but frankly iTunes is an abyssmal piece of software. It acts like malware.) In fact, my only complaint with the Fuze: when I load it up with podcasts, it always lists podcast episodes in reverse order (so the newest is at the top), which means that when I listen to multiple episodes in a row, I have to push the “back” button to get to the next episode, rather than just letting it play in order.

  3. January 24, 2012 10:47 pm

    I’ve read quite a few articles about this as well, and was particularly interestedin Writer Beware’s post explaining how downloading iBooks automatically means that you agree with the terms of service, although you don’t get to read the terms of service before you download.

    If that makes sense. Hang on, let me link the post I’m talking about in case I’ve got it all wrong. http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2012/01/fine-print-of-ibooks-author.html

    Anyway, I’m also disturbed by this, but don’t really see it taking off. (Although I’ve been wrong before.)

    All that aside, I believe the term “un-fan” should be used more often.

    • January 25, 2012 8:44 am

      Yeah, I don’t see it taking off, either. Apple has a small share of the e-book market, and this isn’t going to help them gain a larger share. Plus… this is targeted mostly toward the education market, and I think the idea of schools buying iPads en masse is something of a non-starter, at least for the near-term future. Anyway, I’d wager there’s a good chance Apple will be walking this back before long.

  4. January 26, 2012 12:45 pm

    Since I posted about Apple… I thought I’d point to some other news about Apple that’s come up recently:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46143670/ns/business-us_business/
    (This article really gets at why Apple’s products are made in China and not the US – it’s not so much about lower wages in China – well, it is, actually, but it’s also about how you can kill Chinese workers with relative impunity via poor work conditions. You can’t do that in the US.)

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/government/apple-made-in-china-untaxed-profits-kept-offshore/11126?tag=nl.e539
    (Apple keeps tons of it’s profits offshore – the 2/3rds majority of it, apparently…)

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