Apple Takes a Bite out of Book Marketing: 5 Articles that Slice It Up

A bite out of Apple and Book MarketingCalvin 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)

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

2 Responses to “Apple Takes a Bite out of Book Marketing: 5 Articles that Slice It Up”

  1. Joel Friedlander January 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    Kent, thanks for the shout out and for gathering these great posts together so your readers can get a rounded perspecitive on an important but muddy situation.

    • Kent Weber January 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

      Thanks Joel. You always write a great post. I’ll look forward to your play-by-play on the software, as you create a few books with it. And as the muddy waters clear.