New Jobs bio at center of Apple Store controversy

A new biography about Apple CEO Steve Jobs has caused Apple to pull technical books published by the same company from the shelves of its retail stores, according to the book’s publisher. Jeffrey Young’s forthcoming book “ iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business ” is reportedly at the center of the controversy.

The forthcoming biography, due to be published next month by John Wiley & Sons Inc., details Steve Jobs’ second rise to power at Apple, following his departure, the founding of NeXT, Jobs’ return to Apple in the mid-90s, the development of the iMac and the iPod, and the success of Pixar, the animation studio Jobs runs alongside Apple.

Apple’s reaction to the book, according to Young and corroborated by the corporate communications director for the publisher, was to remove Wiley & Sons’ other Macintosh-related technical books from the shelves of Apple retail stores. Wiley publishes technical volumes including the popular “For Dummies” series.

“I was told late last week that Wiley had been talking to Apple for a while,” Young told MacCentral. John Wiley & Sons Inc. provided Apple with a copy of the manuscript to verify facts.

“Apple didn’t have any factual issues, but they just didn’t want the book to be published, apparently,” said Young. Not publishing the book isn’t an option, however.

“This is an unfortunate situation,” said Susan Spilka, Corporate Communications Director, John Wiley & Sons Inc. “We have a long standing relationship with Apple to sell our technology books in their stores and we’d like to see that relationship continue.”

Spilka noted that Apple’s retail store sales aren’t “a big portion” of their retail distribution. “Wiley certainly has other outlets,” she said. “But we’re empathetic with the concerns of our authors and our customers who have been affected by this decision, and we’d like to get back to selling the books [in Apple’s retail stores] to serve their needs.”

This is not Young’s first experience with this subject matter: Young is the author of another unauthorized Steve Jobs biography published in the late 1980s entitled “The Journey Is The Reward.” Young’s treatment of Jobs in this new book is decidedly more laudatory, according to the author, who admits that his earlier volume portrays the charismatic head of Apple as brash, headstrong and rude.

“You’re left thinking that he’s a jerk,” Young said of his earlier biography. “But this book is not a hatchet job. It’s not some Kitty Kelley-style tell-all, not an exposé-type thing. Jobs has been on a fabulous run, and you have to give him tons of credit. The theme here is: You can change. You’re not stuck as who you are when you’re 30.”

A spokesperson for Apple was not available for comment as MacCentral posted this article.

recommended for you

Bad news

Read more »

Subscribe to the Best of Macworld Newsletter

Comments