Apple imposes app purchasing rules

Apple imposes app purchasing rules

Kobo has removed the direct e-bookselling links from its Apple apps, following new rules brought in by Apple earlier this year.

According to reports the Nook Kids app and the Wall Street Journal app have also removed links to purchase content directly, while the Google Books app has disappeared entirely. E-book companies now have the option of selling direct through Apple's iTunes store at a cost of 30% per transaction, or hoping customers buy direct from their own stores and use the app only for reading material. It was expected that the Apple would begin enforcing its new rules from the summer, however the move has still surprised some commentators with Amazon's Kindle app still unaffected so far.

Mike Serbinis, Kobo's chief executive, told the WSJ that Apple told Kobo on Saturday that it could no longer operate its digital bookstore from its Kobo apps and had to stop selling e-books directly through them. Kobo changed the apps so that they no longer show direct links to buy digital titles. Announcing the app update on its Kobo blog, the company wrote: "The biggest change is the removal of the ability to shop within our app." It sends its customers to Apple's online feedback form to make their concerns known.

Google Books, a mobile app that lets people buy e-books, disappeared from the app store over the weekend. Neither Apple nor Google has commented on the development. Other e-bookselling apps such as the Nook app and the Kindle app remain unaffected so far.

Apple introduced its new in-app purchasing rules in February, demanding that all commercial content made available through apps had to also be made available through the iTunes store, and that links to purchase the content externally should be removed. It modified the rules in June so that content could be viewed so long as the direct links to buy were removed, or replaced with an in-app purchasing tool that would see Apple take 30% of any e-book bought.