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Apple eBook Rules Changing For Sellers 584

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the and-you'll-like-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a 'pray I don't alter it again' moment for eBook sellers on apple iPad and iPhone devices, Apple is now requiring third-party eBook sellers like Amazon to also make their titles available through the Apple store, wherein the empire will take an additional 30% cut. 'Apple confirmed Tuesday that it would require app developers that sell e-books outside of their iPad and iPhone apps — through a Web site, for example — to also sell the books inside those apps. And purchases that originate in the app must be made through Apple, which keeps a 30 percent cut.'"
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Apple eBook Rules Changing For Sellers

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  • Milking it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ceswiedler (165311) * <chris@swiedler.org> on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:02PM (#35081330)

    Apple is better than anyone at getting the most revenue out of a product or service while impacting users the least. Sony is one of the worst--look at the crap they tried to do with MiniDiscs. Apple knows where to get money where it won't irritate people to the point of cutting into their market share, and they know where NOT to get money. Good or bad depends on your point of view, but nobody can milk a cash cow like Apple.

  • Misquoted (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SilverHatHacker (1381259) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:02PM (#35081334)

    In a "pray I don't alter it any further" moment...

    Fixed that for you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:04PM (#35081366)

    Look folks, it's a we told you so moment. You bought the shiny hardware despite the warnings that you're going to be trapped in a walled garden. You are now at the whims of Apple and it's your own damn fault.

  • Ridiculous (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cinder6 (894572) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:04PM (#35081368)

    So now, not only do sellers need to give (most) of the money to publishers, they now have to give another 30% to Apple. Since I know at least Amazon sells really close to their own cost (or even less, in some cases), this would mean Amazon either needs to take a loss on eBooks sold on Apple's platform, or else raise prices.

    Which is probably what this really is all about. Force other eBook sellers to raise prices, and now Apple's own solution looks much more attractive. Sure, they can still sell on their own separate website, but users will likely just choose the easiest option and get turned off by the higher prices, thus not even checking out the website.

  • Re:no loafing! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:04PM (#35081378)

    In related news, Ford demands 30% cut on Latte sales at drive up coffee shops citing in-vehicle purchase rules.

  • Re:no loafing! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nedlohs (1335013) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:05PM (#35081380)

    And everybody who sells software that could run on Windows should send Microsoft 30%, right?

  • Really, Apple? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by egandalf (1051424) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:06PM (#35081392)
    I'm a fan of Apple and their iOS devices (though I know many are not). But I disagree with this change. To make it an option is all well and good, I'm all for it, but to make it a requirement is a step in the wrong direction. I, for one, will continue to purchase my books from Amazon.com. eReader apps help sell Apple devices. IMO, Apple should treat them with more courtesy than this.
  • Re:Milking it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cptdondo (59460) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:11PM (#35081468) Journal

    With margins in the single percentage points for most on-line resellers, you think a 30% cut won't impact the users?

    This will result either in a) fewer stores offering ebooks and thus less competition and thus greater prices, or b) stores raising their prices to cover the 30% cut, resulting in greater prices.

    So tell me again how this won't affect the users?

  • Re:Really, Apple? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mcsqueak (1043736) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:13PM (#35081506)

    Yeah, I too like Apple, and I don't have a problem with their business practices in most cases. Hey, you make a super popular device, you deserve to profit from it, plain and simple.

    But this move is adding nothing of value to the user, and simply inserting another middle-man to take a slice of someone's (in this case, Amazon) profit. I hope no one wonders why E-Book prices will most likely go up instead of down - more folks are getting into the game, which means more hands are reaching into the pot of money for a payout.

  • Re:Milking it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:17PM (#35081568)
    Yeah, Sony is worthy of loathing here! Don't buy Sony!

    (really, it cracks me up how people are able, in their eyes, to single out Sony for boycott ... Sony which, in this case, is a very open entity - their e-book readers stuff is built around standards; and generally is more of a far from monolithic consortium, with many divisions almost struggling with each other; actively involved in many universally used standards (of course, those are not remembered as "from Sony"), offering one of most open DAPs, giving us CCDs to create with... even banking, and I don't remember them being involved in recent mess)
  • Re:Ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Solandri (704621) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:24PM (#35081658)

    So now, not only do sellers need to give (most) of the money to publishers, they now have to give another 30% to Apple. Since I know at least Amazon sells really close to their own cost (or even less, in some cases), this would mean Amazon either needs to take a loss on eBooks sold on Apple's platform, or else raise prices.

    Is there any reason Amazon can't just sell the ebooks for 30% more in Apple's store than in its own? Unless Amazon signed some binding contract, I think any judge would laugh Apple out of the courtroom for trying to make Amazon sell ebooks in Apple's store at a loss, or trying to make Amazon raise prices in its own store to subsidize sales in Apple's store.

    Also, why are publishers still getting most of the money for ebook sales? There's nothing to publish. You still need an editor and a marketer, but there's no text to lay out, no pages to print, no bindings to make, and no boxes of books to distribute. Previously, publishing was controlled by a few companies who subsequently raised prices to where they were taking an exorbitant slice of the pie. But with the Internet, ebooks, and electronic publishing, you could do it all yourself if you wanted. This is a shakeup to the industry's business model which has long been needed.

  • Re:Milking it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moryath (553296) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:35PM (#35081794)

    No, the problem is requiring them to put everything on the Apple Store in the first place.

    What happens if Amazon or B&N doesn't yield? Somehow the Kindle or Nook app gets "rescinded", and stops working when next their iphone or ipad updates. And then the other booksellers have to explain to their customers why all of a sudden, paid-for books can no longer be viewed on the device.

    This is monopolistic practices: the next step is Apple announcing how they have "the largest selection of books" in the Apple Store, because they've forcibly extorted Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and every other ebook purveyor to put their books in the Apple Store or be cut off from the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad market entirely.

    I wonder what happened to the monopoly abuse lawsuit [windowsitpro.com] over iPhone only being on AT&T anyways...

  • Re:Misquoted (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nitehawk214 (222219) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:36PM (#35081806)

    In a "pray I don't alter it any further" moment...

    Altered that for you.

    Altered that for you. Pray I don't alter it any further.

  • by maroberts (15852) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:36PM (#35081814) Homepage Journal
    ...to purchase an Android based tablet/phone
  • ha ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:38PM (#35081822) Homepage Journal
    are you considering raising the costs 30% by taking a cut, 'impacting users the least' ? i want to know which planet you are from. in the one i currently am, costs reflect on the customer.
  • Re:Milking it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Saishuuheiki (1657565) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:45PM (#35081906)

    Isn't this more like the opposite of that?

    Apple is squeezing itself in as yet another middleman in this instance

  • Re:Ridiculous (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MyNicknameSucks (1952390) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:49PM (#35081990)
    Amazon's former e-book model was "Amazon sets the retail price, publisher sets the price to sell to Amazon." Apple forced Amazon's hand last year with the agency model -- the publisher sets the price, Amazon takes a cut. Prices have /already/ been raised in most cases. http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2010/04/e-book-prices-to-rise-as-amazon-sony-adopt-agency-model.ars [arstechnica.com]

    So, right now, on my iPhone app, Apple gets nothing when I purchase a book through Safari on my iPhone. Amazon gets the fee (30%) from the publisher for handling the transaction. Apples wants that transaction fee, or at least a portion of it, for itself. Further, Apple probably wants publishers to release more titles to its own book store ... and is holding other book stores' apps hostage in order to increase its own catalogue -- potentially surpassing Amazon's catalogue.

    What will be interesting to see is what happens to Amazon's web site -- currently, if you purchase a Kindle book, you can choose where you want it sent (an actual Kindle, or any other device, including an iPhone, that's registered to your account). If you choose your iPhone, the book will automatically be downloaded the next time you open the Kindle app (honestly, it's pretty slick).

    Apple is embarking down a sleazy path that makes MS at its worst look downright tame. MS just wanted to destroy other software companies. Apple has its sights set on: retailers; hardware manufacturers; OS developers (especially on small devices); it wants a cut of ALL media and software sold for its devices; it possibly even has cable TV in its sights. And it's getting there by creating an "ecosystem" that ties its different hardware, software, and sales platforms together. And then it's using its muscle to force even its competitors to adopt models that favour Apple.

    Ouch.

  • Re:Ridiculous (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ScentCone (795499) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:51PM (#35082022)

    Its what ever the copy write holders say it is.

    People who can't be bothered to understand that the term is "copyright" should avoid expressing an opinion on the matter.

  • Re:Milking it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joebok (457904) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:52PM (#35082036) Homepage Journal

    How can even 5-10% be justified - any non-zero amount? I paid for my iPad, I paid for my kindle books - how can it be justified at all that I have to pay Apple to use a device I already own to look at content that I already own??? You said it yourself - they do no work, they add no value - they should get $0.00.

  • Re:no loafing! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @03:20PM (#35082424) Journal

    Versatility is the reason we BOUGHT the freakin' things.

    Well then you bought the wrong freakin' thing.

  • Re:Milking it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jackspenn (682188) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @03:38PM (#35082634)

    So the middleman gets squeezed out ...

    Please explain how Author --> Publisher --> Apple --> Amazon --> Reader removed the middleman from what was Amazon's current models of either:

    Author --> Publisher --> Amazon --> Reader

    or

    Author --> Amazon --> Author's mom.

    and people save money

    How exactly are book sales going to kick an additional percentage to Apple and be cheaper? Do you honestly believe that if Barnes and Noble and Amazon were not alternative shops for eBooks that Apple would have lower eBook prices, when it was Apple that allowed publishers to force Amazon and BN to raise their ebook prices several months back?

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @03:57PM (#35082878) Journal

    They are enforcing the original rules, which is that if you make an app that has a notion of in-app purchasing

    Kindle App doesn't have in-app purchasing. It has a button for "Kindle Store", but that just opens the browser directing you to the appropriate section of their website, and all books are then purchased there. The trick is that once a book is purchased in the store, it is pushed to Kindle devices that you own - including the Kindle App. It looks like Apple is not happy about this.

    Well, I don't see why Amazon should give Apple a cut in the above model, and if they ditch the app, I'm pretty sure I won't be buying iPad 2 (iBooks is meh).

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