Spotify removes audiobook purchases from app after Apple rejection

Posted:
in iOS
After a brief fight with Apple and two rejected fixes, Spotify has updated its app on the App Store to remove audiobook purchases.

Spotify
Spotify


Apple said that Spotify was trying to circumvent its App Store rules by directing customers to purchase audiobooks outside of the app, although it initially said it was okay.

With the new update that the company released on October 27, the app shows a screen saying, "Want to listen? You can't buy audiobooks in the app. We know, it's not ideal," according to The Verge.

The argument is about in-app purchases, which are subject to Apple's fee on developers for publishing content through its platforms and services. When developers make a sale through the App Store, Apple charges between 15% and 30% commission fee -- which many developers don't like -- and applies to in-app purchases too.

Spotify's original plan was to let customers know an audiobook was for sale and email them a link to buy it from the web. Unfortunately, Apple rejected two proposed fixes before finally allowing the Spotify app on the App Store.

In September 2021, Apple told developers that it would allow "reader" apps to provide an in-app link to set up or manage accounts off-site. Reader apps are software that displays outside content on iOS, including previously purchased videos, music, magazines, newspapers, and books.

Apple allowed Spotify to use external links to direct users to sign up for a premium subscription, but it seems that doesn't extend to audiobooks.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 4
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,213member
    It was the way that Spotify, through some convoluted email process to avoid fees that apple didn’t like. If Spotify had done it the way you describe in the article it might have had more of a chance of being approved. I  have to go outside the app on kindle too for content, including audiobooks. audiobook experience on Apple Books is not great.

    Apple hasn’t really paid much attention to its Books app, although Books finally got thrown a wee bit of a bone interface wise in ios16. Audiobooks is a key area it is has not been given any love. Basically you have to buy an audiblebook at exorbitant prices (AUD$30 plus) in the Books app. 
    There are some books available through the podcast app, but it is pretty limited. 
    Over on kindle, if you buy a kindle book, if an audio version also exists for it you can get it added to the purchase for an extra couple of dollars and you can progress through the book either through reading or listening, the kindle app knows where you are. And there is also the classic audible subscription (Amazon owns audible) but it is not good value of money and an area ripe for classic disruption. I would also note that all Apple Books has over The Kindle App is you can buy books directly in the app, whereas Apple requires the buyer to go outside the app to a browser for kindle. Bad Apple.

    I would expect the spotify effort is more like the Apple podcast, but specifically given development attention and promotion to help spotify diversify. Meanwhile, Apple Books in general, and thus audible books as well, has been on the back burner at Apple for sometime. It was clearly burnt badly in that antitrust case, and went into classic avoidance. Meanwhile Amazon won all it desired, ironically reduced competition for kindle. 

    I still believe the digital book market is ripe for disruption, including audiobooks, and Apple is just about the only company that can do it. Maybe Spotify can do it if Apple isn’t willing to go to the effort.
    edited October 2022 Alex_V
  • Reply 2 of 4
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,065member
    Apple was burned, but I think they did it to themselves, I always thought Apple should have designed the tools to help people to publish books, periodicals, and design websites in the digital world, and of course help them publish to the digital world, but most of the existing print establishments still don’t want to move forward.

    They are stuck in the past hoping for a savior and Amazon is no such thing. If Apple had taken a more long range view instead of trying to start at the top, I think that they would have been more successful. Despite the flub I think that there is still time to do something big most of the current publishing houses are still floundering.

    Alex_V
  • Reply 3 of 4
    davidwdavidw Posts: 2,075member
    entropys said:
    It was the way that Spotify, through some convoluted email process to avoid fees that apple didn’t like. If Spotify had done it the way you describe in the article it might have had more of a chance of being approved. I  have to go outside the app on kindle too for content, including audiobooks. audiobook experience on Apple Books is not great.

    Apple hasn’t really paid much attention to its Books app, although Books finally got thrown a wee bit of a bone interface wise in ios16. Audiobooks is a key area it is has not been given any love. Basically you have to buy an audiblebook at exorbitant prices (AUD$30 plus) in the Books app. 
    There are some books available through the podcast app, but it is pretty limited. 
    Over on kindle, if you buy a kindle book, if an audio version also exists for it you can get it added to the purchase for an extra couple of dollars and you can progress through the book either through reading or listening, the kindle app knows where you are. And there is also the classic audible subscription (Amazon owns audible) but it is not good value of money and an area ripe for classic disruption. I would also note that all Apple Books has over The Kindle App is you can buy books directly in the app, whereas Apple requires the buyer to go outside the app to a browser for kindle. Bad Apple.

    I would expect the spotify effort is more like the Apple podcast, but specifically given development attention and promotion to help spotify diversify. Meanwhile, Apple Books in general, and thus audible books as well, has been on the back burner at Apple for sometime. It was clearly burnt badly in that antitrust case, and went into classic avoidance. Meanwhile Amazon won all it desired, ironically reduced competition for kindle. 

    I still believe the digital book market is ripe for disruption, including audiobooks, and Apple is just about the only company that can do it. Maybe Spotify can do it if Apple isn’t willing to go to the effort.
    No, that is not true. It's not Apple that is requiring Kindle book buyers to purchase their Kindle books outside the iOS Kindle App. It's Amazon that is requiring Kindle book buyers on iOS, to purchase their Kindle books outside the iOS Kindle App. Amazon do not want to pay Apple their 30% commission for Kindle book purchases if made inside the iOS Kindle App. So Amazon purposely provides no way for iOS Kindle book readers to buy Kindle books inside their iOS Kindle App. This is also true for the Android Kindle Book App. And also, it's not Google that is requiring Kindle books to be purchased outside the Android Kindle Book App.

    Amazon also does this with digital downloaded music and movies with their Amazon Shopping App. One can buy the physical CD or BluRay/DVD disc with the Amazon Shopping App because Apple commission do not apply to the purchase of physical items. But purchases that are downloaded on to iOS are subject the Apple commission , so Amazon do not allow for their purchase in the Amazon Shopping App.  Bad Amazon.   
    edited October 2022 thtAlex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 4
    Not to mention… if Audible audiobooks through Apple Books in Australia are exorbitant, that’s entirely on Audible (an Amazon subsidiary). Not Apple.

    I always found it funny that “anti-steering” is considered either illegal or unethical, when companies do it all the time through pricing by privileging (and de-privileging) certain entities. They should be required to give the same rates to every seller. No back-room deals. Competition doesn’t mean making rules that skew fairness. We know this in sports and many other areas of life. How is it we don’t know this in commerce?
    Alex_Vwatto_cobra
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