The iPad and iPhone have become a comfortable home to e-book readers like Kindle, but apparently from here on in, that’s only as long as Apple gets a cut of book sales. It’s been reported that Sony’s upcoming Reader app for iPhone is having trouble getting accepted into the iTunes App Store because their current purchasing mechanism for new e-books is through a browser pop-up, rather than through the official system… You know, the one where Apple gets a 30% cut of sales. Luckily, you can still access books you’ve bought off of the device, like from a computer. Apple says this rule is only applying to e-books for the time being, but it’s not a stretch to imagine Apple making the same imposition on other in-app purchases in the future. Here’s what Sony had to say on the matter:
“Unfortunately, with little notice, Apple changed the way it enforces its rules and this will prevent the current version of the Reader™ for iPhone® from being available in the app store. We opened a dialog with Apple to see if we can come up with an equitable resolution but reached an impasse at this time. We’re exploring other avenues to bring the Reader experience to Apple mobile devices. We know that many of you are eagerly awaiting the application and we appreciate your continued patience.”
Is anyone really surprised by this kind of attitude? Apple’s a business, and if they make a product attractive enough, they can charge for just about anything they like. I wonder if this strategy is an especially smart one though; a tidal wave of Android tablets is just around the corner, which will likely be devoid of similar restrictions on e-publishers. This is ignoring the fact that there are dedicated e-reader devices, like Sony’s and Amazon’s, that are purpose-built for those who love to read books. If authors can sell their books for cheaper to a more receptive audience elsewhere, I don’t see why they wouldn’t.