Apple May Settle DoJ eBook Investigation Soon

Earlier this month, reports suggested that the U.S Department of Justice (DoJ) was looking into filing a lawsuit against Apple and eBook published due to the “agency model” of pricing controlled by Apple leading up to the launch of its iBook store.

Reuters now reports that Apple and the DoJ are nearing a settlement deal that could occur within the next few weeks. The company is suspected of coming to a secret understanding with five major publishers to illegally increase the price of eBooks offered through its iBooks store. It has also been under investigation by the European Commission.

According to sources, while negotiations continue, Apple may agree to its so called “most favored nation” clause which blocked publishers from selling their books through other online stores like Amazon. One of the unnamed sources said that the upcoming deal could force Apple to use a “wholesale model”. This model would let retailers instead of publishers to control the pricing.

The publishers that are being investigated are Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Penguin, Macmillan and HarperCollins.

Apple Updates iBooks Author With Updated EULA

Recently, Apple announced iBooks Author, a new application that simplifies the process of creating and selling digital textbooks through its iBook store. However, with any new thing Apple announces, there is is controversy that is caused among the media. For this particular software, controversy was created due to the software’s licensing, which specified that anything created within the software could only be sold via the iBookstore and not any other marketplace. Due to this, Apple was once again deemed as “evil.” Confusion was caused due to the way Apple worded its end user license agreement (EULA) for iBooks.

iBooks Author

Today, the company has clarified its EULA agreement by rewording it. Apple has now addressed this issue by releasing an update to iBooks Author that includes a modified licensing agreement to clarify that Apple claims rights only to the .ibooks document format itself. Also, authors are free to distribute their content in non-.ibooks formats however they wish.

Before the update, the EULA used to read:

“(i)if your Work is provided for free (at no charge), you may distribute the Work by any available means;
(ii) if your Work is provided for a fee (including as part of any subscription-based product or service), you may only distribute the Work through Apple and such distribution is subject to the following limitations and conditions: (a) you will be required to enter into a separate written agreement with Apple (or an Apple affiliate or subsidiary) before any commercial distribution of your Work may take place; and (b) Apple may determine for any reason and in its sole discretion not to select your Work for distribution.”

Now it reads:

“If you want to charge a fee for a work that includes files in the .ibooks format generated using iBooks Author, you may only sell or distribute such work through Apple, and such distribution will be subject to a separate agreement with Apple. This restriction does not apply to the content of such works when distributed in a form that does not include files in the .ibooks format.”

iBooks Author 1.0.1 with the updated license agreement is available for free via the Mac App Store. Yup, Apple was indeed trying to restrict authors after all…

Early iBooks Textbooks Downloads Estimated at 350,000?

iBooks textbook

Just last week, Apple introduced iBooks 2, an updated version of the company’s e-book software for iOS devices. In addition, they introduced digital textbooks for the iPad and announced partnerships with McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the textbooks. These three publishers are currently responsible for 90% of textbook sales in the United States. Since the moment Apple announced these digital textbooks, it was considered to be a dud. However, today AllThingsD reports on a new research note from Global Equities Research analyst, Trip Chowdhry claiming that customers downloaded approximately 350,000 iBooks Textbooks from the iBookstore over the first three days of availability. Clearly, a dud indeed!

If those numbers are accurate, Apple’s textbook effort would seem to be off to a good start. Which is good news for everyone involved — particularly textbook publishers, who stand to make more money on books sold through iBooks than those sold at retail.

It is unclear how many of those 350,000 downloads were paid purchases, with seven of the eight titles being priced at Apple’s maximum $14.99 price tag. Apparently, these downloads were accompanied by over 90,000 downloads of Apple’s iBooks Author app from the Mac App Store. The eight title, E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth, is available for free, although it currently contains only the first two chapters of the book. Paid titles are also required to offer free samples, and Chowdhry apparently did not mention whether these are counted as downloads.

With only eight iBooks textbook titles available at launch, Apple is just beginning to scratch the surface of the digital textbook market.

Apple Posts Video of iBooks Media Event

Apple has published the full video of today’s education-related event on their website. It requires Safari 4 or 5 on Mac OS X Snow Leopard or Lion, Safari on iOS 3 or later, or QuickTime 7 on Windows.

iBooks keynote

Thursday’s event occurred at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum, and was about an hour long. The event featured Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president for Worldwide Product Marketing, as well as Roger Rosner, vice president for Productivity Software. During the event, iBooks 2 for iPad was officially unveiled, which Apple pitched as a new platform for textbooks in school. The keynote shows a live demonstration of new textbooks made for the iBooks 2 software.

During the event, the company also unveiled  iBooks Author and iTunes U for iPad. iBooks Author is a new app for Mac OS X that makes creating digital books easy for iOS. In addition, Apple also introduced a brand new iPad app for iTunes U. The company turned its free educational podcast section in the iTunes store into an app. iTunes U allows college students to view course materials, receive updates from their teachers, and even sign up for classes.

Apple also released iTunes 10.5.3, which allows users of iBooks to sync their textbook purchases with iTunes.


Apple Announces iBooks Author

Apple sure has made a lot of education-related announcements today. In addition to releasing a revamped version of iBooks, announcing digital interactive textbooks, and an app for iTunes U, the company has also unveiled a brand new Max OS X application called “iBooks Author”. According to the company, this will simplify the process of creating and selling digital textbooks through its iBook store. More importantly, it should be noted that Apple has essentially converted iBooks from an app to a platform.

iBooks Author

Apple’s Roger Rosner, demonstrated the new software to the press during the event. He showed how the tool can easily turn a document like a Microsoft Word file into something formatted for the iBooks 2 app. In addition, users can also place images in their book, and text will flow around the pictures. Movies can also be added to an iBook too by simply dragging and dropping. He also showed how simple it is to add a Keynote file to an iBook. In his demo, Rosner showed how adding a Keynote file would add the presentation to a book as an interactive widget.

Now anyone can create stunning iBooks textbooks, cookbooks, history books, picture books, and more for iPad. All you need is an idea and a Mac. Start with one of the Apple-designed templates that feature a wide variety of page layouts. Add your own text and images with drag-and-drop ease. Use Multi-Touch widgets to include interactive photo galleries, movies, Keynote presentations, 3D objects, and more. Preview your book on your iPad at any time. Then submit your finished work to the iBookstore with a few simple steps. And before you know it, you’re a published author.

iBooks Author is available for free in the Mac App Store.


Apple Releases iBooks 2 for iPad

Today, Apple had its education-focused media event. During the event, the company made a series of announcements. Right off the bat, Apple started off the keynote by introducing iBooks 2, an updated version of the company’s e-book software for iOS devices. The update comes as a part of a dive into the interactive digital textbooks in partnership with a number of major publishers.

iBooks textbook

Apple has partnered with McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the textbooks. These three publishers are currently responsible for 90% of textbook sales in the United States. In addition, McGraw-Hill and Pearson are rolling out a handful of introductory titles today, with more coming soon. Apple’s initial focus for its textbooks is on high school textbooks. The books are priced at $14.99 or less, which is amazing because usually a textbook of this kind would cost $50+. From the iBooks 2 description:

Introducing iBooks 2 — now with iBooks textbooks.

– Experience gorgeous Multi-Touch textbooks designed for iPad
– iBooks textbooks are filled with interactive features, diagrams, photos, and videos
– Tap to dive into images with interactive captions, rotate 3D objects, swipe through image galleries, watch videos in full screen, and more
– Use a finger as a highlighter when swiping over text in a textbook
– Take advantage of Study Cards to help you memorize important highlights, notes, and glossary terms
– Tap glossary terms to see definitions of key topics and concepts without leaving the page

iBooks 2 is available for free from the App Store, available as an update to the existing iBooks app.

Apple Attempts to Reinvent Textbooks with iBooks 2 and iBooks Author

After disrupting the entertainment industry, Apple has now set its sights on the education sector. In an event held at the Guggenheim museum in New York City, Apple announced its plans to reinvent the textbook industry.

At the heart of Apple’s textbook strategy is the iPad. The iPad’s potential as an educational device was apparent from the very beginning. More than 1.5 million iPads are currently being used in educational programs. However, the lack of structured content has prevented students and teachers around the globe from realizing its full potential. All this is set to change with today’s announcement of iBooks 2.

Textbooks are informative and comprehensive. Unfortunately, they are also dull and boring. “There is no reason to assume today that kids need to use the same tools they used in 1950”, explained Apple. iBooks are essentially full-fledged iPad applications that are designed to make learning fun by tapping the intuitiveness of learning on a multimedia capable touchscreen tablet.

iBooks will feature interactive graphics, 3 dimensional models, videos, search, interactive quiz, glossary, and more. Apple’s iBooks makes highlighting content, taking notes, and creating study cards as simple as a few taps and swipes on the screen. Additionally, books purchased will be perpetually available in the library, and will continue to be updated as the publisher releases new editions.



The advantages of Apple’s new digital textbook platform are several. However, none of that would have mattered if they were not priced right. Thankfully, Apple is again adopting its already proven model of undercutting the established distribution model with smart pricing. All textbooks will be available for $14.99 or less, which is an astronomical price reduction when compared to their dead tree counterparts. Currently, college students often end up spending upwards of thousand bucks on textbooks alone.


Apple is not only making it easier to consume information, but also to create information. It is releasing a new application for Mac called the iBooks Creator. As the name suggests, the iBooks Creator is aimed at publishers looking to create iBooks (which may or may not be textbooks). It is a WYSIWYG editor that makes creating gorgeous and interactive textbooks drop dead simple. Most of the stuff can be accomplished by simple drag and drop, and more advanced features can be added through HTML and JavaScript widgets. The iBook Author is available as a free download.


Apple is launching its new initiative with all the big guns on-board. Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which account for 90 percent of textbooks sold in the US, are among its launch partners.

[images via Engadget]

Apple’s January Event Reportedly About Publishing and iBooks

iPad iBooks

Just a few hours ago, it was reported that Apple is planning a special event in New York for the end of this month.  The event is reported to be for a media-related announcementand not for the iPad 3 or an Apple television set.

Now, TechCrunch reports that a source had independently confirmed plans for the end-of-January event, which was first reported by AllThingsD. According to this new report, the event will focus on publishing and eBooks (which are sold through Apple’s iBooks platform) rather than iAds. TechCrunch’s Alexia Tsotsis’s also noted that attendance would be  “more publishing industry-oriented than consumer-focused.”

According to the source the event will not involve any hardware at all and instead will focus on publishing and eBooks (sold through Apple’s iBooks platform) rather than iAds. Attendance will also be more publishing industry-oriented than consumer-focused.

The source also said Apple would reveal new improvements to its iBooks platform at the event, though the tipster described the announcement as not “major.” In addition, due to the original report suggesting that Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue will play a role in the event, rumors suggested that the event would be related to either advertising or publishing. I guess we are all in for a surprise.


Apple Launches Twitter Account for U.S. iBookstore

iBookstore Twitter

Today, Apple has stepped up promotion of its iBookstore by launching a new  Twitter account  to keep followers updated on new releases, special offers, and other details from the store. Apparently, the account was created back in June, but Apple has just started using the account to send out tweets. The first tweet from the account was:

Welcome to the Apple #iBookstore on Twitter. Follow us to discover new releases, exclusive book offers, and more.

The second tweet from the account promotes  Erin Morgenstern’s  “The Night Circus”. Currently, the book is being featured on the iBookstore’s main page. In addition, Starbucks is also offering a free “extended sample” of the book through its  Pick of the Week program.

In addition, Apple also has Twitter accounts for other services from the iTunes Store, with the App Store receiving its own account earlier this year. The @iBookstore account is a verified account and belongs to Apple.

Apple has increased its relationship with Twitter, by having recently added Twitter and Facebook posting to its online store. In addition, iOS 5 has built in Twitter integration.

Class-action Suit Filed Against Apple and 5 Book Publishers Over E-book Pricing

iPad iBookYesterday, Apple was sued  over  a “fast booting” patent. Today, a new class-action lawsuit has been filed against Apple and 5 major book publishers. The lawsuit claims that they “colluded to  increase prices for popular e-book titles to boost profits and force e-book rival Amazon to abandon its pro-consumer discount pricing.”

This lawsuit claims that Apple  and Hachette, HarperCollins, MacMillan, Penguin, and Simon & Shuster illegally worked together to enable an “agency model” as the standard for e-book sales instead of a “wholesale model”. In addition, the complaint insists that the strategy used was unfair and anticompetitive because e-book prices rose after the agreements were finalized.

In November 2007, Amazon revolutionized the book publishing industry by releasing the Kindle, a handheld digital reader for electronic books or eBooks.Using proprietary electronic inktechnology, the Kindle replicated the appearance of ink on paper and introduced numerous efficiency-enhancing characteristics, including portability and other advantages of a digital format.

A major economic advantage to eBook technology is its potential to massively reduce distribution costs historically associated with brick-and-mortar publishing. But publishers quickly realized that if market forces were allowed to prevail too quickly, these efficiency enhancing characteristics would rapidly lead to lower consumer prices, improved consumer welfare, and threaten the current business model and available surplus (profit margins). So, faced with disruptive eBook technology that threatened their inefficient and antiquated business model, several major book publishers, working with Apple Inc. (Apple), decided free market competition should not be allowed to work together they coordinated their activities to fight back in an effort to restrain trade and retard innovation. The largest book publishers and Apple were successful.

When the iBookstore was first introduced by Apple, they used  an “agency model” where publishers set the price for their content and Apple would take a 30% cut. The same model is used for the iTunes Store for music and App Store.

The class-action lawsuit suggests that this is a “direct result of the anticompetitive conduct as intended by the conspiracy, the price of the eBooks soared” and “bring claims under federal and state antitrust laws to enjoin the illegal conduct and to obtain damages.”

MacRumors has uploaded the entire lawsuit to Scribd.