Apple denies sale of ebook containing links to Amazon

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014


Entrepreneur and prolific author Seth Godin has accused Apple of blocking sales of ebooks containing links to Amazon's online store after recently finding that his own short manifesto had been refused.



In a Wednesday post on website PaidContent , Godin writes that Apple has chosen to not carry his new ebook "Stop Stealing Dreams" in the iBookstore due to number of links in the bibliography that direct readers to Amazon's competing marketplace.



Godin quotes a note he received from Apple as to why the ebook was rejected: "“Multiple links to Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) store. IE page 35, David Weinberger link.”



The issue could be cross-promotion as Godin apparently includes his Amazon Affiliate ID with the links in question, allowing the author to receive a small cut of any potential sales, though this matter was not reported as part of Apple's response.



The allegations of content rejection based on the inclusion of out-of-store links have raised the question of whether the practice is actually commercially motivated censorship. Some websites have taken to the story and are airing concerns that Apple's alleged actions might also be adopted by larger online bookstores.



Godin writes:

It is difficult to assess whether Apple is indeed creating a walled marketplace as the iBookstore has yet to reach a marketshare close to its competitors.





Seth Godin's new manifesto discusses the current state of education. | Source: Squidoo







Adding a wrinkle to the sale of ebooks are the pages of content available online in open formats, Godin's newest book included.



Perhaps most troubling to writers are the somewhat vague guidelines as to what will disqualify a book from being sold in the iBookstore. In Godin's case it was a multitude of links, though no stipulation exists as to how many can be included before a book is rejected or if the removal of said links will then qualify the book for sale.



In an attempt to grow its library and corner the education market, Apple released iBooks Author in January to help streamline the process of publishing an ebook through the iBookstore.



The iPad maker's new system was met with some controversy as it seemed licensing rights seemed to restrict the commercial distribution of content created with the new iBooks Author app. The issue was later clarified, however, and Apple revised the agreement to reflect a restriction only applicable to the .ibooks format.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    If you don't like the rules, don't sell your books on the Apple store.



    Apple's policy is very clear. If the author chooses to violate it, they shouldn't be whining about Apple dropping their book.



    Someone had a good analogy on another site. Would Walmart be happy if you wanted them to sell a book that had a Target gift card taped to the cover? Obviously not - nor should they be.
  • ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 2,606member
    Something tells me this was done intentionally just to make a stink. You'd have to be living under a rock not to know about Apple vs Amazon and others who wanted to have Apps in the App Store that linked outside the store to purchase content to avoid paying Apple their 30%.
  • mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 6,813member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    If you don't like the rules, don't sell your books on the Apple store.



    Apple's policy is very clear. If the author chooses to violate it, they shouldn't be whining about Apple dropping their book.



    Someone had a good analogy on another site. Would Walmart be happy if you wanted them to sell a book that had a Target gift card taped to the cover? Obviously not - nor should they be.



    Exactly. This is the first time I've ever heard of this guy. Good PR stunt.
  • sessamoidsessamoid Posts: 175member
    So what if it's commercially motivated censorship? They're a private entity. They're allowed to censor their properties and stores and the content that is sold through it. If they think that books glorifying the Holocaust would hurt their image and sales, then they have every right to refuse to sell it. There's nothing wrong with that.



    "Censorship" is not always bad. It's just bad when it's done by the government, because the government is backed by guns and can send you to prison.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    1) This guy sounds annoying.



    2) Stores have the write to sell the products they want so those that are going to claim that Apple is using a monopoly position (which is doesn't have) or illegal antitrust actions (which don't exist) can STFU now. If I released a book for the Kindle that linked to iBookstore or B&N bookstores the scenario still holds.
  • mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post


    Something tells me this was done intentionally just to make a stink. You'd have to be living under a rock not to know about Apple vs Amazon and others who wanted to have Apps in the App Store that linked outside the store to purchase content to avoid paying Apple their 30%.



    There are no in app purchases in iBooks.



    The accusation, if true, is pretty low. Let's say I wrote a book on how to build a DIY computer and linked to Amazon for items of a computer parts list used for building said computer, would Apple block it? Probably, they sell computers too, right?
  • anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 16,848member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    Exactly. This is the first time I've ever heard of this guy. Good PR stunt.



    Same here. Definitely a PR stunt.
  • skiball7skiball7 Posts: 18member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    If you don't like the rules, don't sell your books on the Apple store.



    Apple's policy is very clear. If the author chooses to violate it, they shouldn't be whining about Apple dropping their book.



    Someone had a good analogy on another site. Would Walmart be happy if you wanted them to sell a book that had a Target gift card taped to the cover? Obviously not - nor should they be.



    Good analogy. I agree completely.
  • mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Same here. Definitely a PR stunt.



    I haven't heard of him either but his web page reads: "SETH has written more than a dozen worldwide bestsellers that have been translated into more than thirty languages."



    The article did say he was a prolific author.
  • mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    If you don't like the rules, don't sell your books on the Apple store.



    Which rule was it he broke?
  • bigbillygoatgruffbigbillygoatgruff Posts: 293member
    This sounds like something that would have gotten a terse response from the sjobs @ apple.com account.
  • paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,084member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    1) This guy sounds annoying.



    2) Stores have the write to sell the products they want so those that are going to claim that Apple is using a monopoly position (which is doesn't have) or illegal antitrust actions (which don't exist) can STFU now. If I released a book for the Kindle that linked to iBookstore or B&N bookstores the scenario still holds.



    Yes, but it is an interesting 'situation'. In an e-book you can publish links in your bibliography and references, and really, not doing so would be petty. So if those links genuinely all point to works available at your competitor's stores, and if there is no publishing house involved, what do you do?



    I am not sure this is exactly the scenario here, but it is, or will become important if authors publish directly through the digital outlets.
  • skiball7skiball7 Posts: 18member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    Exactly. This is the first time I've ever heard of this guy. Good PR stunt.



    Seth is a very popular author. His books read like his daily blogs, short, sharp and engaging. I have also heard him speak and he does a good job with that too. If you know Seth, you know that he is a big fan of apple (he had a very cool tribute to Steve Jobs - see below) and also a big fan of Amazon Kindle books. I understand why he would make a stink, but he does not have ground to stand on.



    A eulogy of action - by Seth Godin



    I can't compose a proper eulogy for Steve Jobs. There's too much to say, too many capable of saying it better than I ever could.



    It's one thing to miss someone, to feel a void when they're gone. It's another to do something with their legacy, to honor them through your actions.



    Steve devoted his professional life to giving us (you, me and a billion other people) the most powerful device ever available to an ordinary person. Everything in our world is different because of the device you're reading this on.



    What are we going to do with it?
  • penchantedpenchanted Posts: 1,070member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    There are no in app purchases in iBooks.



    The accusation, if true, is pretty low. Let's say I wrote a book on how to build a DIY computer and linked to Amazon for items of a computer parts list used for building said computer, would Apple block it? Probably, they sell computers too, right?



    The thing is that we are not talking about a bill of materials, we are talking about a bibliograpgy which typically includes title, author, publisher and copyright date. He chose to throw in the link to a specific store.
  • realitycheck69realitycheck69 Posts: 83member
    Apple's lawyers gonna earn their keep with suing everyone and now dealing with antitrust issues.
  • charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,068member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    If you don't like the rules, don't sell your books on the Apple store.



    Apple's policy is very clear. If the author chooses to violate it, they shouldn't be whining about Apple dropping their book.



    Someone had a good analogy on another site. Would Walmart be happy if you wanted them to sell a book that had a Target gift card taped to the cover? Obviously not - nor should they be.



    Indeed. Apple is a store and has very right to just refuse it without giving a reason.



    This guy is clearly trolling for press.
  • mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 459member
    i'll wait for the movie.
  • lkrupplkrupp Posts: 3,875member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by realitycheck69 View Post


    Apple's lawyers gonna earn their keep with suing everyone and now dealing with antitrust issues.



    Spare us the trolling nonsense will you.
  • pilgrim850pilgrim850 Posts: 22member
    Those of you who are so quick to side with Apple on this one give me the chills.



    Is iBookstore a bookstore or not? Will it respect the work of an author, or censor a book's contents?



    Apple would like us to think of iBookstore as a bookstore, and wants us to rely on it for our book purchases. It wants us to use iPads and iPhones to read these books. As consumers rely on digital bookstores more often, we stop going to brick and mortar bookstores, and they go under. (A large Barnes and Noble in West L.A. just closed, leaving only two other B&N within a 20 mile radius.)



    If we bend over backwards to see Apple's "right" to protect its competitive advantage--just some offensive links, after all--we start down a slippery slope. Pretty soon, digital bookstores are all that will be left. As consumers, we protect our own interests by having a zero tolerance attitude toward any company--even our beloved Apple--deciding what is and isn't kosher to be in a book. (And of course this isn't about pornographic, indecent, or hateful speech.) It was information that Apple simply didn't like.



    A book is a powerful example of our free speech system. It just doesn't wash to have non-offensive material rejected, for any reason. And Apple has overreached before in its policies and relaxed them after an outcry, so having an opinion on this could definitely straighten them out.



    If Seth Godin--who is a real author--were to have written, "How to use Amazon.com," is Apple saying, as a bookstore it would reject that book? Apple needs to be bigger than that. A company with 95 billion dollars in the bank can afford to respect the free speech that it tries to align itself with. "The crazy ones" in its famous ad campaign would hopefully cringe at Apple's decision.
  • apple ][apple ][ Posts: 7,907member
    The title should be changed to Ignorant Person gets their book rejected by Apple and then whines about it, non-news story of the day, definitely not breaking news.



    And besides the Unabomber, who the hell writes manifestos?



    You can't whine about Apple rejecting your book for inclusion in it's bookstore when you contain many links in your book which goes outsides of Apple's bookstore and leads directly to a competing store.



    That's plain common sense, and if you don't like it, then take your business elsewhere.
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