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Apple Stages Book Spurning

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Apple Computer Inc. has retaliated against the publisher of an upcoming unauthorized biography about chief executive Steve Jobs by removing dozens of other technology books sold by the publisher from Apple stores around the world.

Apple removed the books last week from all 104 of its stores after failing in a month-long attempt to persuade John Wiley & Sons not to release "iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business," which is to go on sale within the next six weeks, the publisher said.

The book-spurning is only the latest attempt by Apple executives to crack down on writers who publish or distribute unauthorized or secret information about the computer maker. It's a strategy that experts in brand management say is likely to backfire, only adding to the notoriety of Apple's critics and encouraging sales in countless other bookstores.

"Pulling books off the shelf is a little draconian," said Rob Frankel, a brand consultant. "It reeks of repression."

"This is not the first time anybody has said anything good or bad about Steve Jobs," Frankel added. "He has a much better public brand image than one book could ever dispel."

The book's author, Jeffrey Young, says Jobs has nothing to fear from "iCon." It's a chronicle of Jobs' rise as an innovator and entrepreneur and includes details about his personal life such as his divorce and fight with cancer, he said.

"I thought the book was pretty positive and laudatory," Young said. "It covers his personal life and there is something about his illness. I wouldn't call any of it outrageous. I'm totally bewildered."

Young said Wiley & Sons sent a manuscript to Apple two weeks ago and the company responded by demanding that the publisher halt the release. Wiley & Sons decided instead to stand behind its author.