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iBook Store Features Leave Indie Publishers Behind 146

jfruhlinger writes "Apple has introduced some new features to its iBooks store in order to make illustrations and fixed layouts possible — something particularly important for children's books. But at the moment, it seems these features are only available for big publishers, not indies. This is not dissimilar from the controversy that brewed over indie labels' access to iTunes LP."
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iBook Store Features Leave Indie Publishers Behind

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  • I know it's cool to be anti Apple on slashdot these days, but does the hatred have to include loss of logic?

    Apple doesn't publish music or books, so in the case of iTunes LP, or the latest iBooks features, they need to work them out fully first. They do this by working with a few big companies, giving them access to rough beta copies of tools and tech specs. By working togther on a few items, Apple can identify and fix issues in a tool or spec before it's widely released. If they just threw out unfinished tools and specs, people would whine about the problems, and also increase Apple's support burden. With a slow and steady rollout, they can do it right, and ensure the mass publishing market has tools or specs that work without requiring direct hand holding via Apple support.

  • by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @02:30PM (#34618334) Homepage Journal

    What exactly did Apple do to Indie artists are welcome to make their music available through any mechanism they like: youtube, myspace, facebook, etc.

    Or rather, they're welcome to sit in obscurity in any way they like. The RIAA is NOT a music industry. It's a promotions industry. They exist to make music famous, a process which costs a vast sum of money. And until relatively recently, it was a profitable business model, which never went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.

    If they've managed to take hold of the most famous platform for music, that's just what they do. But opening it more for indies isn't going to make them famous, which is what they crave. They can be ignored in iTunes with equal vigor to the way they've been ignored on youtube (and, for that matter, in bars and cafes) for a long time.

    The Long Tail is a dream sold to small artists. The technology means that they've been able to raise their income from "nothing" to "next to nothing". Because the thing to remember about the Long Tail is that it's very, very, very long, and you're sitting out there somewhere in the middle of it. You wanna sit on the bigger hump, you spend money to do it. A _lot_ of money.

    The independent market never "thrived". The artists were, statistically speaking, all starving. Even some extraordinarily talented ones making great music.

    Technological change may be able to kill off the RIAA's fame-producing industry, but it's not like indie artists are in some sort of close second place raring to take over first.

  • Re: dramatic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @02:33PM (#34618378) Journal

    While inspiring, I just have a tough time really assembling behind your battle cry.

    Before Apple, big labels and publishers have been working to screw over independants and/or exploit them in any means possible, so I find it hard to really find "Boycotting Apple" as the solution to the actual problem. Apple is just riding the bandwagon, tagging along, trying to get a piece of the pie.

    I would much rather have more people go independant (as the music trend seems to be, more and more bands are leaving the big labels, or starting their own labels, or indie labels supporting other indie bands). It's not so much that people need to boycott certain publishers, its that the artists, authors, musicians, etc etc - they need to stop feeding the publishers with content to sell. Starve them out on content, not sales. Because consumers are idiots, there will always be people willing to buy the shiniest product, or spending for the sake of spending. There is no real way to cause a boycott that way. But once the Indie market thrives because thats where the best content is, with the best delivery system - thats when we'll see real progress.

    I will usually hear a song from a band I like on the radio. Whether or not they are on iTunes doesn't make a huge difference to me, I won't like them less because I can't get their tracks through that ONE distribution method. Best Alternative? Have a website, where they handle their own song/download/transactions - as some bands have started doing, or even better, if they offer the CD for free knowing it'll drive Concert sales. There's so many ways to deliver content around iTunes its baffling that it has as much sway as it does.

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @02:42PM (#34618538) Homepage

    I know it's cool to be anti Apple on slashdot these days, but does the hatred have to include loss of logic?

    Have you been reading Slashdot lately? It's nothing but screeching monkeys and poo flinging at the merest mention of Apple.

    People seem to hate Apple nowadays the way they used to hate Microsoft. Heck, half of the things people are saying isn't factually correct -- it's just what they believe. I still see people claiming you can't play MP3s on an iPod.

    I think in many cases, logic has gone completely out the window when Apple is the topic.

  • by pilgrim23 ( 716938 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @02:47PM (#34618622)
    I recall back in the dim dark days of the 1970s a book I had on 9 track tape recorded there from IBM cards via a utility IEBGENER. Still have that tape...... I recall back in the 1980s a book I had on a 5.25 floppy recorded in Fredwriter in ProDOS on an Apple II. Still have that Floppy........ I recall a book I had in Newton Book format pruchased to read on my 2100. Still have that book (remind me to change the Newton’s battery)....... I recall a book I bought that was published in 1629 . of all the formats I have listed ONLY THAT ONE is still readable. Now we have various E-Book formats. Oh Joy. Do I need to make space on the closet shelf for these too?
  • Is it a surprise? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:43PM (#34619498)

    Apple has been going full-on evil lately with a vision for the future that makes even MS's most dominating days pale. They want to control every device you own, and the appliance model is what they like. Devices designed for consumption, not production. You get to pay for everything and can buy it only through the Apple owned store. They will make devices designed to have a short life with features like non-replaceable batteries so that you are always spending money on the newest, trendiest, toy. They get to be the arbiters of what is acceptable and what is not on your devices, in their one and only store.

    That is a pretty scary vision of the future, in particular for the generally very openness loving crowd on Slashdot. At least MS just seemed to want to be your operating system, they didn't seem to want total control of your device and what you could buy.

    So I am not surprised Apple gets a lot of hatred here. If they don't want that, maybe they shouldn't have such a closed, "The Apple was is the ONLY way," ecosystem. Now if you like that that's fine. I'm not telling you what you should or shouldn't want. It is perfectly ok to say "I like their system, I want my stuff locked down and controlled, because that also implies protected, I am willing to deal with higher prices and less choice in trade for what I feel to be a better overall experience." However understand that many people do not feel that way, in particular many who inhabit Slashdot. So there's gonna be a lot of Apple hate here so long as that is going on.

    In fact, the only reason Apple ever got much love on Slashdot was because they were an underdog. Apple has always had a pretty controlling vision of computers, though not near as much as the present. However they were the little guy, fighting against the behemoth that was MS and Slashdot loves underdogs. Now they are massive and their strategy is well known so they've lost any love from /. they might have had.

  • by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @04:29PM (#34620284)

    Haha, this is the absolute perfect example of misinformation about apple. Who cares about the fact that m4a is actually the MPEG standard designed to succeed the MPEG standard ac3, which itself was designed to take over from the MPEG standard mp3.

    No, instead we need to have a good bash at apple for trying to get "their" standard through over all others.

  • by 517714 ( 762276 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @05:40PM (#34621214)
    If Apple is consistent with their previous roll outs, they will release this to everyone later, once they have had a chance to debug the code and make it work the way a publisher would want. And it won't be because of the uproar here. Apple does not promise to roll out later since they are prohibited from making certain types of forward looking statements.
  • by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @02:06AM (#34625336) Homepage

    If they did make it available to everyone right away, people would still be bitching. The complaint would be that Apple is trying to hijack the open ePUB standard with their extensions for fixed layout.

    The right way to do this is to implement their proposed system, test it on a few books, fix problems found, and end up with a format that works well for this. Only after it is stable and they have had a chance to see what other ePUB stakeholders think should they open it to everyone.

    This is how most progress on standards comes about.

Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb