News

Apple rewrites rules on selling content via apps

Apple has moved to block third party app developers from selling content, such as e-books, via their apps but outside of the app store, leading to speculation that it wants a cut of digital purchases, even when they are made via apps such as the Kindle app. But others have suggested that Sony was thwarted after it attempted to include access to its e-book store within the app itself, rather than via a web browser.

The New York Times reports that Apple rejected Sony's iPhone app, which would allow people to buy and read e-books bought from the Sony Reader Store. The move raises speculation Apple is targeting companies such as Amazon, who sell content via their own apps. The fallout could also hit retailers such as W H Smith, or Waterstone's. Apple takes a 30% cut from payments the go through the app store.

Steve Haber, president of Sony's digital reading division, told the New York Times all future in-app purchases would have to go through Apple. He said: "It’s the opposite of what we wanted to bring to the market. We always wanted to bring the content to as many devices as possible, not one device to one store."

Apple and Amazon refused to comment

James McQuivey, consumer electronics analyst at Forrester Research, said: "This sudden shift perhaps tells you something about Apple’s understanding of the value of its platform. Apple started making money with devices. Maybe the new thing that everyone recognizes is the unit of economic value is the platform, not the device."

The TechCrunch blog notes Amazon's e-book offer has much greater flexibility than Apple's, allowing users to read books across numerous devices. It said: "But instead of beating Amazon on price or features, it looks like Apple might just cut them off. Or force them to use in-app payments, which give Apple a 30% cut and would kill Amazon’s margins."

But a piece on ZDNet said the problem was unique to Sony. It argued: "There’s a key difference between Sony’s Reader app and Amazon’s Kindle app that seems to have escaped the attention of many tech pundits. Unlike the Kindle app, which uses the web browser to redirect users to the Amazon website to make purchases, Reader had greater built-in access to Sony’s ebook store."

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How incredibly unsuprsing.

Dear Bookseller,
This is a massive overreaction to a change in policy that happened months ago. Whilst Apple do get a cut of in-App purchases they're a much more enjoyable experience for the user - so where is the problem?

The Kindle App was created before Apple changed their compliance standards for purchases, which is why it still functions in its slightly archaic unpleasant fashion - redirecting you to the Kindle store in Safari. You then have to buy want you want and go back into the app to sync any purchases. This seems like a lot of noise about something that's pretty straightforward...

We are in the process of putting Children's titles on Kindle, iPad and Google Books.

We will continue to make titles in print available directly to Booksellers at a leading discount.

Like many others we are being forced to move with technology, it's an uphill struggle getting major distributors who have a strong grip on many booksellers to carry our top quality titles, the merit of a book has nothing to do with it any more.

We chose Kindle Format first because of it's leading flexibility and easy quick free submission process, high number of users and no problem with full screen images.

In our opinion iPads are not really doing as expected, thus Apple are trying to cut out competition to improve revenue, perhaps a desperate move.

After an initial scare from app developers of 10,000 USD per small children's title (50 pages), even if we did most of the work, we moved on to iPad video created in house.

The iPad currently has serious flaws for presenting children's eBook high graphical content such as full page images, the iBook format was created for traditional paper backs, it can't do full screen or even full page images, a big oversight by Apple.

To solve the problem we are moving children's books to iPad video with audio which can be turned on or off, thus we can show full screen content, we are rolling regular books, ebooks and audio books into one product in video format for iPad.

In summary the iPad is a stunning product, but very difficult for book publishers compared to others.

Hi anonymous, yes I think you are right, and have added in a paragraph from a blog explaining the fact. But I'm not sure this is an overreaction. I thought the Kindle purchasing was simply a work around before a better solution was implemented. Sony obviously found one, but did not realise they'd have to give Apple 30% of their sales. I'd say that's Sony's problem, but also an issue for Apple, which is limiting user experience in order to bring in the lucre.

How incredibly unsuprsing.

Dear Bookseller,
This is a massive overreaction to a change in policy that happened months ago. Whilst Apple do get a cut of in-App purchases they're a much more enjoyable experience for the user - so where is the problem?

The Kindle App was created before Apple changed their compliance standards for purchases, which is why it still functions in its slightly archaic unpleasant fashion - redirecting you to the Kindle store in Safari. You then have to buy want you want and go back into the app to sync any purchases. This seems like a lot of noise about something that's pretty straightforward...

We are in the process of putting Children's titles on Kindle, iPad and Google Books.

We will continue to make titles in print available directly to Booksellers at a leading discount.

Like many others we are being forced to move with technology, it's an uphill struggle getting major distributors who have a strong grip on many booksellers to carry our top quality titles, the merit of a book has nothing to do with it any more.

We chose Kindle Format first because of it's leading flexibility and easy quick free submission process, high number of users and no problem with full screen images.

In our opinion iPads are not really doing as expected, thus Apple are trying to cut out competition to improve revenue, perhaps a desperate move.

After an initial scare from app developers of 10,000 USD per small children's title (50 pages), even if we did most of the work, we moved on to iPad video created in house.

The iPad currently has serious flaws for presenting children's eBook high graphical content such as full page images, the iBook format was created for traditional paper backs, it can't do full screen or even full page images, a big oversight by Apple.

To solve the problem we are moving children's books to iPad video with audio which can be turned on or off, thus we can show full screen content, we are rolling regular books, ebooks and audio books into one product in video format for iPad.

In summary the iPad is a stunning product, but very difficult for book publishers compared to others.

Hi anonymous, yes I think you are right, and have added in a paragraph from a blog explaining the fact. But I'm not sure this is an overreaction. I thought the Kindle purchasing was simply a work around before a better solution was implemented. Sony obviously found one, but did not realise they'd have to give Apple 30% of their sales. I'd say that's Sony's problem, but also an issue for Apple, which is limiting user experience in order to bring in the lucre.