e-Book Hysteria

July 26, 2011

If you use any number of e-Reader apps on an iOS device, you might have noticed yesterday that the ability to purchase e-Books within the apps (excluding Apple’s iBooks app) has disappeared with app updates. Misinformation is swarming and everybody hates everything, which saddens me. For the purpose of clarity, this entry will focus on only one of the now storeless e-Reader apps, Amazon’s Kindle app.

Apple earlier in the year revised its App Store rules for iOS developers to comply with, which addressed how content can be purchased within apps; Under the new rules, the only method allowed for developers selling content is to use Apple’s proprietary In App Purchases (IAP) feature. Developers can sell subscriptions to their services outside of their apps, but every transaction within apps is required to go through Apple, and developers cannot link to their web stores within apps.

The founding idea to this rule change was — and I believe still is — that if Apple is giving Software as a Service (SaaS) developers new customers (that they wouldn’t otherwise have), Apple deserves a cut of the revenue. That cut is 30% of every transaction, and can only be enforced through IAP. Not liking the idea, Amazon chose to not conform and instead removed the ability to reach the Kindle store within the Kindle app, which is ticking off customers. Some railing against Amazon, and others railing against Apple; It’s chaos.

So think of it this way…

Existing Kindle customers know that the primary method to purchase e-Books is through a web browser, and e-Books purchased are instantly available on every Kindle device/app used by the purchaser (including the iOS apps). The inability to purchase e-Books in the Kindle app on an iOS device is an extremely minor hinderance to these people. They are Amazon’s customers in the e-Book space, and they will remain Amazon’s customers.

Alternatively, Apple’s customers that stumble upon the Kindle app in the iOS App Store and download it might not understand that purchasing e-Books can only be done through a web browser, and will immediately gravitate to Apple’s e-Book service, iBooks. They are Apple’s customers, and they will remain Apple’s customers. Fair is fair; Until Amazon agrees to share its e-Book revenues with Apple, Apple shouldn’t allow Amazon to take advantage of Apple’s customers. When Amazon agrees to give Apple a cut in revenue, Apple will give Amazon new customers again, it’s that simple.

Amazon is not evil and the updated Kindle app should not be receiving as many negative reviews on the App Store as it is. The ratings should be as positive as they once were, and instead I’ve noticed reviewers decrying Amazon for removing the ability to access the Kindle store from inside the app. Amazon needs to find a way to better educate people on this — Amazon absolutely doesn’t deserve those negative words. Apple is not evil either. From what I’ve read, those that know why Amazon updated its app as it did typically rail against Apple, which saddens me not because they have an opinion opposing Apple, but because it isn’t an educated one.

Sources: AppleInsider, App Store [iTunes link]

By the way, sorry I didn’t have this up yesterday.

2 Responses to “e-Book Hysteria”

  1. Joe Simmons Says:

    Boy you pull no punches your are direct. My question I read alot I have alot of books. I was thinking getting a kindle which one will be the better one to buy?

    • Montana Leet Says:

      Well I believe that the iPad is the best e-reader, largely because of the multimedia content it can display within books, on top of everything else it’s capable of.

      If you were strictly after a Kindle, I’d say that the base model is the best bang for your buck. But I’ve not owned a Kindle, I’ve only used them briefly. Logically, though, if all you’ll do is read, the more expensive Kindles offer nothing to improve the reading experience.

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