Regarding iBooks as App Store App, Books Using FairPlay DRM

iBooks app for iPad

It's interesting that, since Steve Jobs announced during his iPad keynote that iBooks would be available for download from the App Store, recently there's been some coverage of this as news -- including that the iBooks books will be using Apple's FairPlay DRM.

That iBooks won't be built in like iPod, Music, or Movies apps, and that it includes the iBooks Store inside it instead of in a separate -- also built-in -- app like iTunes Store or App Store, is what made TiPb assume Apple was intending to compete on equal terms with existing App Store apps like Kindle. Making iBooks built in, and making the store part of the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad would clearly be a sign that Kindle's days in the App Store might be numbered. This way, however, we took it as just the opposite, especially since Jobs went to the trouble of mentioning it.

In terms of FairPlay DRM, while recent media coverage implies that it hasn't been seen since iTunes music went DRM-free in April of last year, iTunes Movies and TV Shows certainly haven't (a point 9to5Mac makes as well), and App Store apps are protected as well. TiPb has always assumed they've been using FairPlay this whole time, since Apple prefers technology they control, especially when they're contractual bound to maintain things like copy protection. (This is why they historically refused to license it to third parties -- it would make it easier to break and harder to re-secure).

So, again, when Jobs announced iBooks Store, we just took it for granted it would be using Apple's DRM system, FairPlay. It nicely sets the stage for a big DRM-free books movement in a few years, doesn't it?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Regarding iBooks as App Store App, Books Using FairPlay DRM

19 Comments

i really want to see how this epub standard plays out, can i just drag books i purchase elsewhere in this format

See, I was just assuming they'd use Adept. Hopefully I'd be able to use my Overdrive ebooks. If not, there's always txtr.
The iBooks app changes NOTHING. There's always Stanza, Kindle, B&N eReader, txtr… the list goes on and on. Why is this news?

@Oboewan
Haha, of course the iBooks app changes things. It's a quality app from a very high profile company. They have made an interesting move by placing it on an equal footing with the other ebook apps. Don't be a troll! (Please disregard if you found that insult too trollish)

ADEPT? Even if Apple went ADEPT, that still wouldn't equal standardized DRM. B&N is using a customized DRM via Adobe's ADEPT Servers. B&N ePub cannot be read on a Sony Reader or other such dedicated device -- until Adobe updates the software and Sony decides to incorporate that update.

I can't stand it when Apple releases an App on the App Store. It's supposed to be for NON-Apple apps. I want Apps like iBooks and Remote to be INCLUDED with iOS, not as third party downloads. For Apple's sin, I continue to use and Kindle as my book app and will NOT use iBooks until it is INCLUDED with iOS, as it should be. Honest truth.

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