Calvin Reid’s subtitle this week at Publishers Weekly sums up the impact of Apple’s annoucement for every stakeholder in this industry:
“No one’s quite sure what Apple’s new textbook format means for publishing.”
The iTunes update was nice. The textbook stuff is cool. (I’d return to school just for that!). But the shot across Amazon’s bow was the oh-by-the-way “other stuff,” namely iBooks Author, Apple’s nifty new “free” App for creating eBooks.
That shot should straighten the antennae of every author, publisher (and reader) out there.
Warning: difficult choices likely ahead. While these two big Ships battle it out in the lagoon for control of the publishing gateway, the waters are likely to get pretty murky and wavy. All of us little guys on small rafts are going to get tossed around for a bit.
The most important sentence in the whole “announcement” almost seemed to slip under the radar. Here it is:
If you charge a fee for any book or other work you generate using this software (a “Work”), you may only sell or distribute such Work through Apple (e.g., through the iBookstore) and such distribution will be subject to a separate agreement with Apple.
Ouch! Especially if you are self-publisher, this decision about book marketing and sales is a biggie! Is there a day coming when you will have to choose between selling on Amazon or using Apple software? It looks like that writing is now on the wall.
If you want to stay abreast, I recommend the following 5 articles. Some pre-date the announcement, but I chose these 5 because each represents a different segment of the industry, and because each author is really worth following on the topic. Enjoy!
5 Apple Slices on a Spinning Plate (Publishing)
- Seth Godin from the Domino Project
Why Apple Didn’t Make Publishing Easier
I listed this first because it is the shortest, classic Seth, 214 words. A helpful distinction
- Mike Elgan from Cult-of-Mac
Apple’s War On Amazon
This is the longest of the bunch at 1500 words, but also the most important. Mike is an insightful analyst and a very elegant writer. This post should be read by every single author who is considering Amazon’s KDP program, using the new Apple ebook creation software or any other proprietary system. An excellent overview of the stakeholders in this battle for market share.
- Josh Lowensohn from CNET
Apple Digital Textbooks and Self-Publishing Apps
Josh is Mr all things Apple at CNET and covered the event up close. His early-adopter Twitter name also signifies how close his pulse is to these developments: @Josh
- Joel Friedlander from The Book Designer
Links and a “How to” Perspective on Apple’s Reinvention of Ebook Creation
His site is the #2 most trafficked site in book marketing right behind self-publishing phenom J.A. Konrath. Joel comes from the Design and Production side as well, and he’s a great guy to follow for this aspect.
- Calvin Reid at Publishers Weekly
iBooks 2: Reinventing Textbooks Or Lulu on Steroids?
Some great questions for/about Apple in this one.
There it is. Some authors may want to add a Google alert on this development. Or at least check the news before you spend on your next device. And definitely read your contract carefully before you drag-and-drop your next masterpiece into anyone’s software.
QUESTION: How concerned are you?