Confusion Over Apple's Stance On Publishing Apps

Stewart Wolpin says the media is getting carried away with the whole Apple hubbub. In a post at Dvice today, Wolpin blasts media inaccuracies for lending to confusion over Apple’s app policies which would demand a 30 percent cut from subscriptions sold via apps on the Apple iOS.

Some people are thinking that this new policy would signal the end of the Kindle and threaten eBook profits.

Not so, says Wolpin, pointing out what he says many have missed so far, that the 30 percent fee applies only to subscriptions. And that since e-books are not subscriptions, the 30 percent fee would not apply to e-book sales.

The whole brouhaha broke last week when Apple rejected Sony’s e-book Reader app. Why did Apple reject Reader? Because the Sony app sold books from within the app, which is a Bozo no-no. Simply, Apple logically wants to vet what is sold under its imprimatur.

I’ll let influential publishing newsletter Publishers Lunch, people who know publishing, pick up the story:

Sony’s Steve Haber gave the [New York Times] the impression that “Apple told Sony that from now on, all in-app purchases would have to go through Apple.” As best we can tell, the two NYT reporters then came to the broader conclusion — without any additional evidence in their filed story — that 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.” But Apple has never allowed third-party e-bookstores to sell e-books through in-app purchases that are not part of Apple’s own purchasing program, providing Apple with their 30 percent share. Existing approved reading apps from the likes of Kindle, Nook, Kobo and Google do indeed let customers access outside purchases, but they all send customers to the web browser to make those purchases. None of them provide for in-app purchases, and it’s not clear why Sony thought they could achieve something that all of the other major reading apps had avoided.

So nothing has changed except Sony got its publishing panties in a wad for no reason. Your Kindle, Nook, Kobo and Google e-book apps are all safe and sound, Apple isn’t changing any policy, Apple’s not getting extra greedy, Apple’s not punishing Sony — nothing, absolutely nothing, has changed.

However, as one reader, Mike, points out in the comments, Wolpin may be the one who has it wrong, and that Apple IS, in fact, charging that 30% fee for e-books.

Stewart, sorry, but you’re clearly wrong & should really update your post. Here’s a quote from the revised App Store Dev Guidelines:

“Apps can read or play approved content (magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, video) that is sold outside of the app, for which Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues, provided that the same content is also offered in the app using IAP at the same price or less than it is offered outside the app. This applies to both purchased content and subscriptions.”

So you see, exactly as those “insane in the membrane” reporters reported, it’s not only for magazines, it’s for videos and the like and it’s even for subscriptions AND single content units. I.e. Amazon is clearly affected.

Check out the post, and the comments, here. Hopefully, Apple will clear the matter up soon.

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