Apple ban of 'iCon' book creates promotional boon for publisher

HOBOKEN, NJ: Book publisher John Wiley & Sons, best known for its Frommer's travel books and Dummies series, is inadvertently generating outsize publicity for an upcoming title by invoking the wrath of Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

HOBOKEN, NJ: Book publisher John Wiley & Sons, best known for its Frommer's travel books and Dummies series, is inadvertently generating outsize publicity for an upcoming title by invoking the wrath of Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Wiley will soon publish a biography of Jobs entitled iCon. But the book has angered Jobs so much that he has ordered all of Wiley's books, including instructional books for Apple products, removed from Apple's stores. Huge media attention for the book has followed.

With 100 US stores, and three in Japan and two in the UK, Apple is an important outlet for Wiley to reach its customers. Wiley publishes dozens of books on everything from the iPod to Apple's new operating system, Tiger. Wiley also publishes books on software that runs on Apple's Macintosh computers.

While much of the media has reacted negatively to Apple's decision, Wiley is benefiting from the attention.

"We're pleased that people are noticing the book," said Susan Spilka, corporate communications director. She said the company is walking a fine line between promoting the book and leveraging the extra media attention, and not further antagonizing Apple.

"We were surprised and disappointed by Apple's reaction," added Spilka. "We have a longstanding relationship with them, and we want to maintain a good relationship."

Wiley has moved the publication date from June to mid-May and increased the first-print run. Spilka said the company is not promoting the book any differently than it would have without the controversy -- but the media attention is certainly making it easier to do so. Wiley has had interview requests from all the major television networks and major cable news networks, as well as media from Japan and Europe.

Spilka said media attention is starting to shift from the controversy to the book itself, which will enable Wiley to talk about the book and not get bogged down in rehashing the controversy.

Not that the media has completely moved on. The Wall Street Journal ran a commentary May 3 by Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard lambasting Jobs.

"Angered out of scale by an unauthorized biography called iCon...Jobs went nuclear last week," wrote Karlgaard. "He banished iCon from Apple stores...Jobs's war on iCon follows another stupid public relations move born of, well, totalitarian impulse."

Apple did not return calls for comment.

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