Apple's licensing terms for iBooks Author are quite restrictive towards the distribution of work: They require the output of iBooks Author to be distributed only through Apple's retail operation.

How can this work for business that create content using iBooks Author? If you export your book as a PDFs to sell for a Kindle, it would be against the licensing terms.

Thus, I'm asking:
Is there a version of iBooks Author with adequate licensing terms for enterprise?

Here's the extract (iBooks Author 1.0 licence agreement section 2.B.)

Distribution of your Work. As a condition of this Licence and provided you are in compliance with its terms, your Work may be distributed as follows:

  1. if your Work is provided for free (at no charge), you may distribute the Work by any available means;
  2. if your Work is provided for a fee [...], you may only distribute the Work though Apple [...]

The restrictions only apply to the .ibooks format.

From the iBooks Author Publishing and Distribution FAQ of 2/7/12:

Are there any restrictions on the distribution of works produced with iBooks Author?

If a fee is charged for the work and it is in the .ibooks format, the work may only be sold through the iBookstore. If the work is in a different format, such as PDF or ePub, this restriction does not apply.

Here's the relevant part of the updated license agreement regarding the distribution of work:

(i) if the work is provided for free [...], you may distribute it by any means;

(ii) if the work is provided for a fee [...] and included files in the .ibooks format [...], the work may only be distributed through Apple, [...], however, that this restriction will not apply to the content of the work when distributed in a form that does not include files in the .ibooks format [...]. You retain all your rights in the content of your works, and you may distribute such content by any means when it does not include files in the .ibooks format [...].

  • That's the important part. The version 1.0 of the license agreement was not worded clearly enough. Apple rephrased section 2B in the newer version. Now it's clear that the restriction is to protect the use of a proprietary format (.ibooks). The first version of the license agreement indirectly claimed distribution rights of intellectual content not just a format. – gentmatt Mar 13 '12 at 16:48
  • The important sentence I'm referring to goes as follows: ...this restriction will not apply to the content of the work when distributed in a form that does not include files in the .ibooks format... – gentmatt Mar 13 '12 at 16:50

The only version of iBooks Author currently (1-20-2012) available in the App Store is the standard version, containing the license you cite. At present, the answer to your question appears to be no. There are, of course, other tools by other software companies that can create PDFs (and other software by Apple, such as Pages).


The current version of iBooks author works fine for many enterprise customers since they can handle the distribution of the works and don't care to a) make money on the books in the iTunes store (or put another way - intend all Apple distributed books to be free) b) have apple do the hosting of the books in the first place.

Also, enterprises have good legal teams that have experience and don't just have to rely on Apple's EULA to know what they can do with their staff's time and writing. The enterprise people I have spoken with are overjoyed at this tool to let them create compelling content without needing thousands of dollars of tightly licensed software to create publications or worse, having to pay developers tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars to make a publishing platform for their catalog and consumer marketing apps.


Note that in your question you say "They require the output of iBooks Author to be distributed only through Apple's retail operation." which is not true, you are perectly allowed to use iBooks Author to create material for distribution as PDFs for example, so long as you do not charge. If you charge, then they simply expect you to use the App store as the charging mechanism.

It's relatively straightforward, they provide the tools to you for free to create the materials. If you intend to make a profit on the back of the usage of those tools, then at that point you pay, via having a cut taken at the App Store gates.

As for "Enterprise" software apple does not distinguish beteen home/pro/enterprise etc in the same way that a lot of software providers do. They only ever provide a single version of an app, and if it is suitable for you then use it. If not, look elsewhere. There are exceptions to the rule (Logic), but the vast majority of software provided by Apple is provided in a single "SKU" to use Microsofts nomenclature.


The only restriction is that you aren't permitted to sell your work in the .ibooks format. As clarified on the official apple website:

Distribution on the Web

You can distribute works you've created with iBooks Author on the web as a standalone purchase or subscription product or service. When you sell your book on the web, it must be in a non-.ibooks format. Examples of a non-.ibooks format include PDF and ePub. If you wish to sell your work in the .ibooks format, it may be sold only through the iBooks Store. When you provide a work for free, you can distribute it in any format (including .ibooks) through the iBooks Store or by other means.

You are permitted to sell your work in any format except the ibooks format. More information is available at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201183.

  • Same answer was given here 5 years ago. Why duplicate it? – Tom Gewecke Apr 9 '17 at 1:38

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