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What Do You Think of Apple’s Treatment of Kindle & Other Book Readers on the App Store?



Back in February, Apple announced its new subscription model for the App Store – and some very harsh-sounding policies towards book sellers and publishers. This week, the impact of these policies is being felt by publishers of reader / bookstore apps in the App Store – as reported by Phillip Elmer-Dewitt at Fortune Tech today:

In the past few days, Apple (AAPL) made good on the threat it issued in February when it revealed its so-called “subscription model.” Publishers and book resellers that wanted to do business on the App Store had to fork over 30% of every sale or take their business elsewhere. Putting a button on an app that took readers out of the App Store to make a purchase — as Amazon, Barnes & Noble (BKS) and Google (GOOG) had been doing — would, as of June 30, no longer be permitted.

Profit margins being what they are in the book business, 30% was never going to fly. So rather than abandon the App Store entirely, the major third-party book-buying apps — Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Google Books etc. — disappeared and came back with their easy-to-use buttons removed.

So the Kindle app and others like it are still in the App Store, but seriously hobbled and not able to offer quick in-app purchases as Apple’s own iBookstore can. As someone who has purchased eBooks via the iBookstore and the Kindle app at right around a 50/50 ratio, and just generally as an observer of App Store policies, I hate the enforcement of this policy.

I think John Gruber at Daring Fireball sums it up very nicely (bold emphasis below is mine):

There you go. This is the result of Apple putting its own interests ahead of those of its users. It’s certainly not drastic (as it would be if Amazon had pulled the app from the store entirely), but in no way can it be argued that this is an improvement for users.

What do you all think of this? It’s Apple’s store and they can do what they like? Upset at all about these changes?

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  • Jeff

    Apple doesn’t seem to understand that this is about iBooks’ lack of content. This will be an irritant to some consumers, but most Kindle users in particular are probably already used to buying their books two other ways anyway (on Kindle and on the web). Besides, all you really have to do is bookmark the mobile Kindle store anyway.

  • Judy

    Apple is placing itself in the position that it used to accuse Microsoft of taking. For those of us that thought Apple was something special, we’re rethinking.

  • John

    Total storm in a teacup. The Kindle app NEVER offered “quick in-app purchases”, it always just took you to Safari where you had to browse the mobile Amazon site, and you had to buy your books there. Or from your desktop, and click to send them to a particular Kindle-toting device.

    NOTHING has changed in the system used to buy books. The only thing gone is a button which opened Safari for you. I can’t believe the noise being made over this utterly inconsequential change.

    If you buy Kindle books, you are still able to read them on your iOS devices. End of story. Not many other hardware manufacturers allow competing commercial platforms a look-in.