In this article, Kovach talks about the new “iBook” app that Apple has released. It’s a tool where people can self-publish their works and sell them in the Apple iBooks store. However, the catch is that after using iBook and publishing it, the author can not sell it anywhere else, unless the author is offering it for free on the store and distributing it for free somewhere else. This has caused controversy over Apple’s control in personal works. The article references Wineman, “It’s akin to Microsoft trying to restrict what people can do with Word documents, or Adobe declaring that if you use Photoshop to export a JPEG, you can’t freely sell it to Getty.” So although you are using Apple’s tool to make something, Apple gets some ownership in it.
I think that this is silly and that Apple may be going a little overboard in their customer retention strategy. Reading this user end agreement, who would even want to publish their book on iBook? Essentially Apple is binding the author to using their system, and limiting their works to Apple users. And while Apple customers are everywhere, that’s still not enough publicity and readership for most authors. A better alternative for self-publishing would be on Kindle’s system. People can read books from anywhere as long as they have a (free) Amazon Kindle account. Personally, I’ve read quite a lot of self-published books on Kindle, and a lot of them have skyrocketed in popularity because of the platform it was published on. Kindle is so widespread and available to everyone, while publishing on iBook greatly limits an author’s chance of success.
This idea is similar to the last blog post I wrote about Farmville being popular simply because of the platform it was released on. I think that most of the time, if you publish in a place with a huge userbase, then more people will read your book or play your game (with exceptions of course. There’s always the double-edged sword of your book being less noticed in a big site than on a smaller site.) But either way, I would always choose to use another platform over iBook- if it’s my writing, then I want to control where it goes and who can read it. I don’t want to be bound by the Apple ecosystem.