Publish an ebook created using iBook Author & lock yourself in Apple-land forever

Apple created the desktop publishing industry in the 1980s. In the 21st century, they want to reinvent ebook publishing. Part of this reinvention process is the free iBooks Author software for Mac OS X that Apple released today (2012.01.19). Anyone using a Mac can download it from the Mac App Store at no charge, use the software to create an ebook, and publish it through Apple’s iBookstore. You can bypass the iBookstore publishing process for testing and informal distribution by simply getting the file over to an iOS device using, for example, Dropbox.

However, as most of us have learned by now, there’s always a price to pay even when something is free. In this case, the price is being locked into distributing only through Apple’s iBookstore if you create an ebook using iBooks Author that is sold for a fee. From that point on, any ebook created using iBooks Author must be distributed through the iBookstore. That’s what Dan Wineman learned by reading the software’s EULA: 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.