Apple App Store eBook Armageddon Is Cancelled

Apple Reverses Course On In-App Subscriptions

Steve Jobs Blinks! Apple Backs Down On App Subscription Rules

On Saturday, June 4, 2011, I wrote in this post, My Two Revolutionary Wishes For Apple’s WWDC, the following:

1) For Apple to relent, recognize the cultural importance and value-enhancement of books, and let eBookstores sell in-app without requiring a business-murdering 30% vig to Apple.

After posting that, I emailed the link to Steve Jobs.

Do I think he read it?

Hell no.

He probably got sick of me after my first cranky-ass email to him. He never replied to any of them, which were all about eBooks and then this 30% vig threat that would kill eBooks.

After the first email, I was probably sent to the Spam bucket.

But one of my wishes has been at least partially granted. eBook apps will not be removed from the App Store.

Has the road been cleared for me to buy an iPad now?


I need to see what the practical consequences of this rule change are, how the affected companies react to it, what the possible buried landmines might be.

I also wonder if, like Apple’s prior rule banning apps using different programming tools, one of Apple’s attorneys finally convinced Jobs that this would be going too far and would awaken the Department of Justice, FTC, and sic the European Union on them.

I’m not running out to go buy an iPad.

I don’t feel victorious or any elation.

I feel abused.

— thanks to Jane Litte who emailed me about this change


Filed under Apple: The Company, Digital Overthrow, Digital Periodicals, eBooks: General, Friction

8 responses to “Apple App Store eBook Armageddon Is Cancelled

  1. Keishon

    So does this mean that Sony should be able to get their app approved now? I wonder if they will even try again. I know you have pronounced them dead but I still have hope.

    • mikecane

      I don’t know. Sony’s setup is not like everyone else’s, so it’s hard to say. Kobo, Nook, Kindle, are all fine. They’ll be read-only/sync-only.

  2. Shock Me

    While I am happy with this apparent reversal of policy with regard to subscriptions, I’m glad they haven’t let too many cross-platform tool sets in the door. That’s how Mac users got screwed last time.

    Flash and Adobe Air should be resisted to the last electron. I refuse to pay the hardware overhead so Adobe can get lazy and live off everyone else’s hard work.

  3. Eric

    Rule 11.13 still applies, so in-app links to out-of-app purchases are still banned. No shopping for books from within your reading apps.

  4. Martin Hill

    While much of this change might be good in most ways for publishers etc, it sucks from a user’s perspective because now many apps probably won’t allow purchase of subscriptions etc through in-app purchases.

    It sucks when you have to go out to the 3rd party store, sign in with yet another account, input your credit cards for the 100th time (trusting it is not a scam) and only then finally buy. A major part of the mind-boggling success of the app-store and iTunes is one-stop, one-click purchasing for devs as well as Apple.

    Hopefully most developers and content providers WILL still provide in-app purchases and hopefully not charge the full 30% extra as that will ultimately give them far more custom than going it alone and forcing users to go to their websites. Apple’s 225 million iTunes account holders are a formidable customer base and one they would ignore at their peril.


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