The Kindle has had a strong ally in the Kindle iPad/iPhone reading app.
In fact, some estimates and surveys claim that 40% of books bought for the iPad are through the Kindle for iPad app.
Well, Apple might be getting tired of that.
Sony’s iPhone eBook App gets rejected
Courtesy Peter Craine at the official Kindle forum we find out that Sony’s iPhone app just got rejected –
Tuesday’s New York Times reports, “The company [Apple] has told some applications developers, including Sony, that they can no longer sell content, like e-books, within their apps, or let customers have access to purchases they have made outside the App Store.
“Apple rejected Sony’s iPhone application, which would have let people buy and read e-books bought from the Sony Reader Store…
Wow. That’s a really big move by Apple.
Details on Apple’s new Rules
The New York Times has the details on Apple’s new approach to eBook Apps.
- It seems that ebooks bought outside the app store will not be allowed into apps.
- Sony’s iPhone App has definitely been rejected.
- Apple has said that all in-app purchases will have to go through Apple.
- NY Times points out that Amazon might get affected.
- Analysts think this shift suggests Apple wants to make more money from its platform.
“This sudden shift perhaps tells you something about Apple’s understanding of the value of its platform,” said James L. McQuivey, a consumer electronics analyst at Forrester Research.
“Apple started making money with devices. Maybe the new thing that everyone recognizes is the unit of economic value is the platform, not the device.”
This is nothing short of a disaster for Amazon and B&N. Both are seeing very healthy ebook sales through their reading apps. A large portion of that is sales through iPhones and iPads. If those disappear, or begin to get taxed, it would be really tough for B&N and Amazon to profit from ebooks sold to iOwners.
Why would Apple do this now?
Three possibilities spring to mind –
- Apple was only allowing these ebook reading apps to sell iPads. Now it feels iPad is powerful enough to stand on its own.
- Apple is getting serious about iBooks and wants to turn it into a solid revenue stream. It probably feels that iBooks can’t take off until Kindle and Nook apps are handicapped.
- Apple really does intend for iPad 2 to be more of an eReader/Reading Tablet. It wants to make sure that reading apps from other companies can’t piggyback on iPad 2.
Whatever the reason for Apple’s new stance, it’s a rude awakening for Amazon and B&N. A painful lesson that if you don’t control the device, you can get kicked out at a moment’s notice.
What could Amazon and B&N do?
Perhaps they could offer Apple a 10% cut. Perhaps they could put more energy into Reading Tablets – B&N is already doing this with Nook Color. Perhaps they could stir up readers, and get them to protest – though that is unlikely to work.
There’s not very much Amazon or B&N can do. They are at the mercy of Apple.
If Apple really does force Kindle and Nook Reading Apps to pay a toll, it’ll prove, once again, that there is no such thing as a free lunch. That you have to build your own direct channels to customers.
The Book Wars have well and truly begun.