Thursday, March 1, 2012 [Tweets] [Favorites]

iBookstore Rejects Book for Linking to Amazon

Seth Godin (via John Gruber):

I just found out that Apple is rejecting my new manifesto Stop Stealing Dreams and won’t carry it in their store because inside the manifesto are links to buy the books I mention in the bibliography.

Quoting here from their note to me, rejecting the book: “Multiple links to Amazon store. IE page 35, David Weinberger link.”

And there’s the conflict. We’re heading to a world where there are just a handful of influential bookstores (Amazon, Apple, Nook…) and one by one, the principles of open access are disappearing. Apple, apparently, won’t carry an ebook that contains a link to buy a hardcover book from Amazon.

As I recall, Apple had stated that, though the App Store was curated, the iBookstore would only reject books that violated common-sense guidelines. However, I was unable to find a copy of Apple’s approval guidelines for iBooks. Nothing is mentioned in the FAQ. There’s an uninteresting “eBook Distribution Agreement,” which you can read when you sign up to sell your books, but once you agree to the terms it becomes confidential.

Links are content just like words and images, and they should be untouchable. Censoring books in such a petty way should be beneath Apple. What’s next? If I write a book about blogging, do I have to link to MarsEdit in the Mac App Store instead of Red Sweater’s Web site? If a book cites the New York Times, does it have to link to the app (which has more 1-star ratings than all others combined) rather than the highly regarded Web site?

Whatever happened to competing by offering a better product for the customer? Amazon offers more books, better prices, a more pleasant store, better reader hardware, various software readers, and Web access to your annotations. Apple lets the iBooks app use special APIs, while preventing the Kindle iOS app from doing lots of useful things that would be possible even with the public APIs. And now it’s refusing to sell an e-book because it contains links that are, quite frankly, useful to the reader. Apple is trying to fight Amazon by making things worse for their mutual customers. I bet if they, instead, made a great book store, authors would freely choose to link to it instead of Amazon.

2 Comments

[…] platform to have all these devices working with iOS. Past App Store rejections have made Apple look petty, or perhaps evil. This one just makes it look […]

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