Apple forces changes to e-reader apps

It had to happen sooner or later.

According to a report on CNet, Apple has kicked out other e-reader apps (or made buying off them more of a hassle).

Apple twice amended its terms for subscriptions in the App Store, requiring companies to give Apple a 30 percent cut on sales their apps generate. In the past, e-reading apps such as the Kindle, Nook, and Kobo have avoided paying the cut by sending customers to a Web-based interface outside the app. But now, Apple’s new in-app subscription rules require app developers to strip out any links to external mechanisms for buying digital books or subscriptions.

Somewhat reluctantly, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo have all updated their iOS e-reader apps, with Barnes & Noble going so far as to temporarily remove its Nook for iPad app from the App Store.

Apple issued its new App Store subscription rules last February, basically making it impossible for e-book sellers to continue operating their apps under the new terms without losing money. After a bigger than expected outcry, Apple softened its stance but the new terms still required developers to remove links to external mechanisms for purchase (a “buy button,” for example).

You can still access your Kindle, Kobo, and Nook libraries from any iOS device and use all the features available in those e-reading apps. But you’ll have to buy your e-books on the company’s respective Web sites, then sync your libraries via the app (insert Schwalbach sigh here).

Now, this may not be such a big deal for existing users, but it does increase the hassle of buying an item from said companies and keeps alive the feeling that Apple is stamping down on competition and forcing people to use their own software.

You may simply chose not to update. But believe me, Apple will force you to update your e-reader apps especially if you wish to use them with iOS 5.
Look, we at Ninja Beaver are not Apple haters. We have enough of their products to say differently and we’ve always understood that if companies are going to use a mainframe like the App Store then Apple should be able to ask for a cut (although 30% is a bit too high). But, really?

C’mon Apple, this just smacks of a monopoly. You may have allowed e-reading apps from other companies to remain in the App Store (albeit with everything to make the consumers life easier stripped out), but Apple’s iBooks will be the only iOS app that will allow you to buy e-books directly from within the app and that makes better consumer choice how? It’s like any manufacturer of a television asking the BBC for a cut just because its channels are shown upon it.

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