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Developer Blames Apple For Ruining eBook Business 660

An anonymous reader writes "A bookseller and app developer has blamed Apple for writing its final chapter, claiming the iPad maker had pushed it out of business. 'Apple has made it completely impossible for anyone but Apple to make a profit selling contemporary ebooks on any iOS device,' BeamItDown said. 'We bet everything on Apple and iOS and then Apple killed us by changing the rules in the middle of the game.' The company blamed Apple's decision to impose a 30% commission on books sold through apps for the unhappy ending."
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Developer Blames Apple For Ruining eBook Business

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  • by dammy ( 131759 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @11:07AM (#36094070)

    Apple went out begging third party hardware developers to build to CHiRP (PReP) machines so it would run Mac OS8 and then reversed course denying them Mac OS-9 license. Some things never change with Apple. My first computer was an Apple ][+, I doubt I will ever own anything Apple related again.

  • by JimMcc ( 31079 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @11:20AM (#36094292) Homepage

    I probably shouldn't respond to somebody who's handle is 'countertrolling', but...

    If you've read any of the information on this subject, you'd know that the contract with Apple requires that you price eBooks the same as what Apple sells them for. So raising the price is not an option.

  • Missing the point (Score:5, Informative)

    by sweatyboatman ( 457800 ) <> on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @11:28AM (#36094386) Homepage Journal

    Every post here says some variation of "Quit whining. This is your fault for trusting Apple not to change the rules."

    Which is not the point (or rather you are making the author's point for him). Apple's business practices are (and always have been) aggressively biased against third-parties. It's remarkably consistent and it's their Achilles heel.

    The stark lesson is: do not develop for Apple platforms. No matter how shiny or revolutionary the hardware, and no matter how brilliant your idea, Apple will rip you off.

  • by dzfoo ( 772245 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @11:37AM (#36094504)

    If you read the blog post, the owner explains that they repeatedly asked Apple for a validation of their business model, and that the only response they received was that their app did not violate policy. Moreover, he suggests that Apple acted in bad faith by implementing iBooks to destroy his business model, without alerting him of their intentions.

    He also states that they went through considerable trouble and expense to build an application, only to give it away for free and depend on revenue from a "middle-man" business model, where they would resell e-books that publishers were already selling.

    He further states that all publishers had moved to an "agent" model where they require all resellers be bound to the same price, of which they get a 30% commission, so his margins were already razor-thin.

    This all strikes me as very flawed business model from the beginning. This is not an app developer, this is a re-seller--a middle-man-- that happens to give away an app in order to sell e-books from it. The fact that he developed the app is immaterial, since it was not the product that he sold.

    Did they really expect Apple to have their lawyers and business executives analyse their company's business model to make sure that it would be successful? Is it really Apple's fault that they didn't see the flaw in their "middle-man" re-seller model?

    If his e-book reader is such a novel and marvelous app, as he suggests in his blog post, then why doesn't he just sell the app and let it stand on its own merit? He suggests that iBooks is just gimmicky with its page-turning animations, and that his app is superior; well, then he should be able to make money out of it. His business model was broken, not his app.


  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @11:42AM (#36094554)

    You must sell books from major publishers at the same price as Apple does.

    Which is entirely wrong.

    You can't see books cheaper than Apple does, you can certainly charge MORE. This is a rather common thing in retail.

    You are required to sell in app if you sell online and allow that to be downloaded too the app.

    If you sell books on your own website (that you can get on your iOS device as well), then you have to charge the same price (or more) than it costs to get them on the iOS device. Basically you can't charge $200 for a book on the device, and $20 on your website as a way to skirt around Apple requiring you to sell them in the app.

    Those publishers must give you exactly 30% commission.

    Apple does not say that anywhere, nor do they have ANY control over who much you pay to license content from others. This is just bellyaching and lies.

    iOS booksellers have to give 30% of their revenue to Apple.

    Yea, and if you have even the slightest clue about the retail world, you'll know that when you put your shit in someones store, they take a cut. 30% is pretty much THE standard amount. In big box retail, there are times when you end up paying more to be in the store, per item, than your item costs total. Its not just a loss to be in the store, you're actually loosing more than just the cost of your item!

    There is no enforced 0% profit margin, though I'll admit, why would you buy from someone other than the iBookstore if the iBookstore is the cheapest, but thats just business. Don't like it? Sell on someone elses device or make your own. Ever heard of Windows Mobile, Android, or BlackBerry?

  • Re:Business 101 (Score:5, Informative)

    by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @12:25PM (#36095286)
    Changing the game midstream without warning on your partners while applying secret and inconsistent rules is not good business, and apple is known for screwing it's partners like this, especially with it's latest offerings.
    I agree with you Kreigaffe, it's nothing new for apple to shaft it's partners, but a lot of these people out there don't know apples s.o.p. of business, so forgive them for being a bit naive.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner