So Apple’s “audacity” is that they’ve created a snazzy creation tool that, from all appearances, only works with their viewers. Wineman is correct in that it’s the license, not the technology, that prevents you from taking a
.ibooksfile and selling it somewhere other than Apple’s store. But you don’t have much reason to sell something this thing creates outside Apple’s store, ’cause it ain’t gonna be creating those snazzy multimedia books for your Kindle Fire.
You wouldn’t be selling iBooks for Kindle Fire, you’d be selling them for iBooks on the iPad, which last I checked wasn’t just a vending machine for Apple content. And there are plenty of reasons to want to do so, chief among them being that 30% is a lot. If I’m capable of doing all the marketing and payment processing and hosting of my .ibooks documents, why shouldn’t I get to keep all the profits?
Before anyone else points out that Apple deserves its cut because iBooks Author is free, remember that this argument applies equally well to app distribution outside of the App Stores. (At least on the Mac, where that’s still a viable way of doing business.) No one contends that Apple should get a cut of non-App Store app sales simply because Xcode is free.
There’s nothing wrong with selling tools that help people make money. I’m sure there’d be a market for a non-free iBooks Author, just as there is for Aperture, Final Cut, Logic Pro, and the rest of Apple’s professional content-creation tools. But giving the tools away for free and then using semi-hidden legal terms to wedge yourself into an exclusive middleman position? That’s shameful.