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Author Claims Apple Won't Carry Her ebook Because It Mentions Amazon 332

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-in-our-store dept.
martiniturbide writes "Author Holly Lisle tried to publish her guide How To Think Sideways Lesson 6: How To Discover (Or Create) Your Story's Market at Apple's iBooks store. She says it was rejected first by Apple because it had 'live links' to Amazon. After she removed the links, it was rejected again because according to her: 'The problem is the CONTENT. You can't mention Amazon in your lesson.'"
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Author Claims Apple Won't Carry Her ebook Because It Mentions Amazon

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 29, 2012 @04:32PM (#40811251)

    shut down discussion.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 29, 2012 @04:50PM (#40811459)
      The third rule of selling self-help books: make yourself seem like a plucky underdog being trampled on by a huge, faceless corporation.
      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        The third rule of selling self-help books: make yourself seem like a plucky underdog being trampled on by a huge, faceless corporation.

        A very popular corporation?

      • by KingSkippus (799657) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:46PM (#40814119) Homepage Journal

        Okay, so if you ARE a plucky underdog being trampled on by a huge, faceless corporation, what the hell are you supposed to do? Just shut up and take it? I'm not saying you're wrong, but that thing you just said, big faceless corporations delight in people believing it because then they can do no wrong. If you're an asshole, that's your fault. If we're an asshole, then it's still your fault.

        So I'm genuinely curious, how do you, as a consumer, tell the difference? What do you know about this particular circumstance, this particular author, that we don't know that makes you think that she is being disingenuous?

        Again, I'm not saying you're wrong, maybe she is making a fuss just to get publicity. If so, then by all means, let us know why you think so so that we won't waste our time supporting her. It just seems to me that you're saying that anyone who makes a fuss must just be in it for the publicity, and I strongly disagree.

        • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Monday July 30, 2012 @06:40AM (#40816267)

          Again, I'm not saying you're wrong, maybe she is making a fuss just to get publicity. If so, then by all means, let us know why you think so so that we won't waste our time supporting her.

          Her claim is the book was refused because it mentions Amazon. Go to the iTunes store. Do a search for Amazon. Ignore the results about the geographic region and notice how many other books clearly and obviously mention Amazon. Take particular note, for example, of the book titled "Amazon.com" which, one would assume, is about Amazon and makes mention of the company.

          After you do this basic level of investigation, one can only be left to assume that there's either some key part of this story missing and/or she is doing this to generate attention for her book as a marketing ploy (driving people to buy her book on Amazon, most likely).

          It just seems to me that you're saying that anyone who makes a fuss must just be in it for the publicity, and I strongly disagree.

          I agree (with you) - making a fuss does not mean one is just trying to generate publicity but, especially in today's day and age one must be sure to consider the possibility that, yes, it is being done for publicity. It's a marketing tactic that has proven to work, largely because most people aren't willing to do any degree of investigation into whether or not a claim is true. Thus, he (or she) who complains loudest gets eyeballs.

          I believe, in this case, the story is either missing a very important key piece of information or, more likely, the author is manipulating the online media into generating hype regarding her book to increase sales.

          • by jjo (62046) on Monday July 30, 2012 @07:22AM (#40816543) Homepage
            So why, in particular, do you assume that Apple must be consistent in its content filtering? You assume that because Apple has permitted references to Amazon in other cases, they would necessarily have permitted it in this case. It could be that Apple has a policy of filtering out references to Amazon, but does not do so automatically. This book may have been manually reviewed because of the previously-included links to Amazon (another inane Apple policy). We don't know what all of Apple's policies are in this case, but assuming mendacity on the part of this author is completely unwarranted.
          • Poor reasoning (Score:4, Insightful)

            by DragonWriter (970822) on Monday July 30, 2012 @11:08AM (#40818851)

            Her claim is the book was refused because it mentions Amazon.

            More precisely, her claim is that that is the reason Apple stated the second time they rejected it.

            Go to the iTunes store. Do a search for Amazon. Ignore the results about the geographic region and notice how many other books clearly and obviously mention Amazon. Take particular note, for example, of the book titled "Amazon.com" which, one would assume, is about Amazon and makes mention of the company.

            So? It wouldn't be the first time that the reasons Apple stated to the creator for rejecting one product from their online store were inconsistent with the fact that other products which would, rationally, be rejected by the same rule had already been accepted in the same store.

            After you do this basic level of investigation, one can only be left to assume that there's either some key part of this story missing and/or she is doing this to generate attention for her book as a marketing ploy (driving people to buy her book on Amazon, most likely).

            Well, no. In order to reach that conclusion based on the evidence you cited you have to first assume, additionally:
            1. That Apple's stated reasons for rejecting a product are always accurate and complete,
            2. That Apple's standards in accepting products in its online store are consistent.

            Unless you assume both of those are true, the fact that other products appear in the store that would not be expected to if the reasons they allegedly stated for rejecting the product in question had been applied across the aboard is not evidence against the allegation that they rejected the product and gave the reason stated.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Requiem18th (742389)

        Wow, talk about blaming the victim. Don't pretend this isn't Apple's fault, in fact I don't even think this was planned, otherwise she would have complained from the moment the links were blamed.

        In a way I think this is a great opportunity to illustrate why monopolies, even popular ones are bad. Talking about popular monopolies, are you a fan of Apple? Because that was some nice brand loyalty there.

    • by mk1004 (2488060) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @05:46PM (#40812011)
      A quick search of apple inc in books on amazon returns plenty of results. Some are obviously positive and others negative about Apple, and some are probably neutral. The author suggests that Apple doesn't allow mentions of competitors, or at lest Amazon, in their bookstore. So which of the two, if either, is evil?
  • I like the way her site states

    I can no longer recommend Apple as a professional distributor

    I don't see Apple acting as a professional distributor. Quite why people still support this abusive organisation I really struggle to understand.

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @04:35PM (#40811295)

    Require extraordinary proof.

    There are plenty of iBooks already that mention Amazon.

    We have one person making a blind accusation here.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Aqualung812 (959532)

      This isn't extraordinary. Apple has shown (along with Microsoft's phone market and other app-store approval systems) that when you have many humans editing for content, you get sometimes stupid rejections like this one.

      Because someone at Apple rejected this app doesn't mean Apple itself rejects it as formal policy, but it might. I'm sure in the coming days we'll find out one way or another.

      However, this highlights the issue with getting approval from a centrally controlled application market where approvals

      • by Qwavel (733416)

        But she tried multiple times. According to the blog post she is now past the point of trying - she has given up.

    • by Qwavel (733416) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @05:02PM (#40811575)

      The article is by Cory Doctorow, who is very well known and respected.

      I would assume he did some basic vetting of the claim - he is no fool and has a reputation to protect.

      • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Sunday July 29, 2012 @05:23PM (#40811815)

        The article is by Cory Doctorow, who is very well known and respected.

        First, it's hardly an "article", it's a single paragraph followed by a direct excerpt of the blog post by the offended author.

        Secondly, neither Doctorow nor the offended author provide any proof whatsoever. None.

        Now, this is only speculation, but perhaps Apple had an issue with the cover art, which is a rip-off of the For Dummies series of books? Publishers that copyright issues seriously.

        But, since the author has provided no evidence to support her screed, it's really a non-story.

        • by Qwavel (733416)

          She claims that Apple said they were rejecting her book because of the Amazon references.

          If she is lying about that, then she could just as well have made up the whole thing.

          I agree that some evidence (e.g. a copy of the communications from Apple) would be helpful, but is she allowed to do that?

          • by hawk (1151)

            How are you supposed to provide evidence of a transmission sent straight to your brain by the secret industry police that watch you . . .

            ? :)

            hawk

      • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @07:07PM (#40812739)

        If Cory did any basic vetting, then he failed.

        Here, try this:

        Step 1: Go to the iTunes store.
        Step 2: Search for "Amazon"
        Step 3: Ignore all titles obviously about the geographic location and take note of how many books obviously include mention of "Amazon" the company.

        Protip: One of the books available for sale via iTunes is called "Amazon.com". I could be mistaken, but I think it mentions and discusses Amazon, the company.

        Her claim is marketing BS.

    • I'm also curious why "How to Think Sideways" books 1,2, 4, and 5 weren't on the iBookstore - only book 3 is there.

      • by hawk (1151)

        You obviously don't know how to *count* sideays . . .

        That's not a "3"' it's "111". (or is it "m"--this right-ending/left-endian thing has confused me since I was U . . .)

        hawk

  • Odd (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mmcxii (1707574) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @04:39PM (#40811329)
    If I start iTunes I find books about selling on Amazon.

    I'm not saying the story isn't honest I'm just saying that there are plenty of Amazon resources available on iTunes that seems to offset what is being presented here.
  • Doesn't seem right (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SilenceBE (1439827) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @04:43PM (#40811385)
    I have bought some eBooks (usability bundle) by Smashing Magazine [smashingmagazine.com]that also are available on the Apple iBookstore and Amazon (and other competitors) have been mentioned multiple times in those books.

    I'm beginning to question that there is much more to this story and it has been spin doctored to create some free extra publicity by riding on the iHate wave.
  • BS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by edelbrp (62429) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @04:46PM (#40811421)

    I call BS. I did a quick search here for "Amazon" on the iTunes Store and it comes up with a number of books related to publishing and marketing with Amazon including publishing eBooks for the Kindle.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You know, there may be more than one person reviewing the submissions. And they may not all make the same decision. Mistakes happen as well.

  • ... because samzenpus cannot wrote good English proper.

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @05:04PM (#40811593) Homepage

    Amazon tells you that if you want to be in their lending library the content has to be exclusive to them for 90 days.

    At the end of 90 days you discover that the 90 day clock resets. Instead of just saying as long as you want to be in the lending library, the content has to be exclusive, they play the recurring 90 day game.

    I'm guessing if they just came right out and told the truth it might be challenged as anti-competitive.

    I'm also guessing some big titles get a better deal.

  • There is simply no proof that this woman's claims are true. In fact there is a lot of evidence that her book was rejected for some other reason.

    Since we do not get to see the actual email traffic from Apple, we have only the author's "paraphrased" quotes. How accurate are they? We can only speculate.

    This is really a non-story about an author who is angry about a rejection notice. An author who gets bent out of shape whenever they get a rejection notice, will be a VERY angry author indeed.

  • The sum total of the link:

    "But I also will not deal with this sort of head-up-ass behavior from a distributor. You don’t tell someone “The problem is the live links,” and then, when that person has complied with your change request and removed the live links, turn around and say, “No, no. The problem is the CONTENT. You can’t mention Amazon in your lesson." - Holly Lisle

    Sounds like a misunderstanding, in which the author is trying to profit from by complaining. There are a number of approved iBooks where Amazon in the main focus, rather than just a few mentions.

    Now don't get me wrong - I'm not really an Apple fan... . I believe they have anti competitive practices. But oppression? This is not...

    -Brian

    • by gnasher719 (869701) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @06:07PM (#40812223)

      Sounds like a misunderstanding, in which the author is trying to profit from by complaining. There are a number of approved iBooks where Amazon in the main focus, rather than just a few mentions.

      There is a paragraph in the AppStore guidelines that basically says "if your app is rejected and you complain, then we may reconsider. If you moan in public, that is not going to help." I would interpret it as "if you complain about the app store in public, then the app store will sadly learn how to live without you".

  • by divisionbyzero (300681) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @05:31PM (#40811877)

    There is zero proof in her claim. Why was this posted?

  • by WaffleMonster (969671) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @05:57PM (#40812113)

    We already know Apple pulls apps that compete with their bottom line so why should anyone expect different behavior from ebooks?

    The problem in my mind is not really Apple or what apple does or does not do...It is the aggregation of power into the hands of the few with all the financial incentive in the world to leverage to the fullest.

    Expecting them not to (ab)use it seems foolishly naive.

    I vote with my purchases and encourage others to do the same.

  • An Atlas of the Amazon River.

    Rejected for ToS violation.

  • by PseudonymousCoward (161283) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @08:32PM (#40813395)

    In my book "The Making of 'I Saw Them Ride Away'" I mentioned the great help that Amazon, and their subsidiary CreateSpace, had been in enabling the publication of my Great-Grandfather's memoir. When I submitted the manuscript for format checking, it was rejected because it mentioned "amazon.com". I had to eliminate a very complimentary sentence, at their own insistence.

    I'm sure the policy makes sense to someone.

  • by lesserwhirls (2696283) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @09:25PM (#40813697)
    From the author (taken from comments on her site):

    "Here’s the first email I received from them. Boldface is mine.

    Dear Holly Lisle,
    One or more assets from your submission, How To Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, need to be replaced:
    Ticket #: 1438977
    Ticket Type: Book Asset
    Apple ID: 541126811
    ISBN: 9781937533304
    Vendor ID: 9781937533304
    Full book asset:
    Competing Website(s)
    Notes:
    Jun, 29 2012, 12:13PM – Apple:
    Book file contains links from competitors: Amazon, in the chapter Q&A 6, under “Question 9
    Please log in to iTunes Connect to view this request and upload replacement assets:
    If you have any questions about this report, contact us at the iBookstore.
    Regards,
    The iTunes Store Team

    Here’s the FINAL email I received from them before I removed my courses.

    Dear Holly Lisle,
    One or more assets from your submission, How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, need to be replaced:
    Ticket #: 1438977
    Ticket Type: Book Asset
    Apple ID: 541126811
    ISBN: 9781937533304
    Vendor ID: 9781937533304
    Please note that the changes in this ticket were not executed. The ticket has been returned to you for additional corrections. Please make all of the changes requested below.
    Full book asset:
    Competing Website(s)
    Rejected Reason(s):
    Competing Website(s)
    Notes:
    Jun, 29 2012, 12:13PM – Apple:
    Book file contains links from competitors: Amazon, in the chapter Q&A 6, under “Question 9
    Jul, 18 2012, 4:54AM – Apple:
    Epub internals validation passed
    Jul, 18 2012, 4:54AM – Apple:
    The following ticket task(s) have been updated by the feed: Full epub
    Jul, 18 2012, 1:21PM – Apple:
    Please Note: The original change request was not fulfilled. Your changes were not saved. Previous issue was not addressed. Please review your file before resubmitting it. Thank you.
    Jul, 19 2012, 8:35AM – Apple:
    Epub internals validation passed
    Jul, 24 2012, 11:56AM – Apple:
    Please Note: The original change request was not fulfilled. Your changes were not saved. Original Issues have not been resolved.
    Please log in to iTunes Connect to view this request and upload replacement assets:
    If you have any questions about this report, contact us at the iBookstore.
    Regards,
    The iTunes Store Team

    As noted, however, I HAD changed the lesson, HAD removed the links, HAD complied with their request. Since the links were gone, their only possible objection—NOT STATED—was content."

    Sounds like she is reading between the lines. As noted in other comments, there are several publications in the iBookstore that deal directly with amazon (including publishing through them).

    • by gblues (90260)

      Indeed, sounds like a classic mistake of "uploading the wrong version," i.e. her updated book is in location A and she is uploading an out-of-date copy in location B. The copy in location A may very well be free of direct links to Amazon.com, but if that's not the copy she's uploading, she's going to run into the same problem.

      Next question: do you want to be taking publishing advice from someone who can't successfully upload the right copy of her eBook?

  • by Swampash (1131503) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:23PM (#40813971)

    I work in marketing, and this whole non-story reeks of a publicity campaign for the author's book.

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:33PM (#40814021)
    It is absolutely not by any stretch of the imagination unreasonable to say that if Apple rules the entire country, it would be the book 1984. They are so control-psycho, those zombies that buy their products might actually wake up, get a freaking clue, and crush their company. By the way, in the famous Microsoft vs IT people: Vista edition, their millions of marketing dollars might as well have been used to make one giant money pinata for a company party after every IT person in the world told any curious customer what they thought of Vista. I've been telling my customers what I think of Apple for years. If enough of you do it, bye bye, Apple.

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