Self Publisher Beware Narcissistic Apple Software

English: A 1st generation Apple iPad. This is ...

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I follow a great blog called Writer Beware, a priceless tool constructed by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s Committee on Writing Scams, which sniffs out publishing swindlers.  As a writer with a publishing goal, it’s important to stay abreast of scammy people who would willingly take advantage of one’s aspirant ambition.

And it’s amazing how many people try.

At least once a week, a post drops into my inbox, reminding me once again that evil is out there.  Well, perhaps evil is a bit dramatic.  How about greedy?  Greedy is definitely out there.

This week, the covetous scoundrel is Apple Inc., which by nature is just greedy anyway.  Yes, they make salivation-worthy products – which I own and adore.  But their historical you-can’t-play-with-us-if-you-aren’t-cool (and by uncool, we mean PC) mentality is …. annoying at best.  And let’s face it, when they screw up in a public forum, their reaction is typically less than satisfactory for such a large, influential company.

Recently, Apple released some software called iBooks Author, a self-publishing format specifically designed for use on the iPad.  And it’s FREE!  Except, as Writer Beware points out, there are some hiccups:

  1. You can only use it if you have a Mac (only the cool kids can play),
  2. The End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) requires that Apple gets a cut of the profits (you have to PAY the cool kids to play – even if the first hit is free), and
  3. The EULA says you can ONLY sell the work to iPad users (you can’t play with the uncools anymore, cause that would make you uncool by association).

The EULA is agreed to when you download the software AND Apple has to approve your book before they release it for publication.  So, after all that, the cool kids may not even LET you play.

Ah, cool kids.  For shame.

The article does assure, however, that it’s not the rights to your work that are taken from you, just your right to use that particular edition anywhere else.

“To be clear, Apple is not claiming rights to your content–only to the product you create by using its software. You don’t lose your copyrights when you use iBooks Author; your text, and any other content you yourself create, remains yours, and you can use it however you wish–including selling it on another self-publishing platform (as long as all Apple formatting is stripped out).”

Perhaps just publishing through Amazon.com, which would allow your work to be downloaded to the iPad via the Kindle for iPad app, is sufficient.  Until the cool kids decide to eliminate that feature, that is.

By the way, if you want to check out Writer Beware, a good place to start is their 2011 retrospective.  Enjoy!

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