So I have been reading some of the postings by techies about the fact that if you create a book with iBooks Author that you can only sell it through the iBookstore. Being a musician I figured I’d put my 2¢ worth in since I have an understanding of this.
If you want to distribute music that you’ve written and performed someone will want to take a cut of it unless you want to do it yourself and get a much smaller base. If you’re an author and write books the publisher will always take a cut. That’s just the way the world works. When you have something you want to distribute you can sell it on a street corner and hardly get much back, or you can have someone with the marketing backing behind them to put your work out there for the masses to find out about it and consume.
Why haven’t I heard these complaints previously from iOS app authors? If you want to write an app you first have to buy the tools so that you can get access to the system for writing the apps then when you release the app Apple will take a small percentage of your sales. Currently for iBooks, just as for music you sell through iTunes Apple takes 30% of the sales. Just to put this in perspective, Michael Jackson’s Thriller album gave 90% of the sales to the record company and only 10% to Michael himself.
This is a deal in comparison and I think people who haven’t had much contact with the media business need to understand this. Currently there are three formats you can release an eBook in, Apple’s iBook, PDF and Amazon’s [please correct me if I am wrong]. Now PDF’s are readable on any computer so you need no special device to read them on. You can read a PDF on an iOS device and I assume an Android just fine. You can even export from iBook Author to PDF, but the multimedia elements aren’t included.
Amazon’s format which is also used by the Barnes and Noble Nook is plain html and they take 50% of your selling price. There is no multimedia available in these eBooks as they are only words and pictures [black and white] on an ePage [I made that up, so can I have a trademark for being the first to use it?]. I just don’t think people realize that unless you’re going to cover all the marketing costs yourself and pound the pavement yourself, you’re not going to get the distribution you would through a company that will help you reach more people and will want a cut. Apple’s cut is pretty small compared to many others I’ve seen. I’ve had distribution offers for my music that the distributor has asked for a 40% cut. I go with iTunes because they only ask for 30%. That’s the cheapest distribution deal I’ve seen.
If you build it they will not come unless someone tells them that you’re there. Keep that in mind.