Apple has issued a statement relating to App Store policy change with regards to ebook sales.
This in from Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller:
"We have not changed our developer terms or guidelines. We are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase."
This is different to the statement made by Sony which indicated that Apple had said that all purchases must be made as in-app purchases.
What does this mean for Amazon with the Kindle app and Barnes & Noble with the Nook app? Well, it will mean that if this statement from Apple is accurate then the app will also need to offer books as an in-app purchase. Since Apple takes a 30% cut of the sales price, then it seems likely that ebooks bought as in-app purchases will cost 30% more than if bought direct from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
A few thoughts:
- Has there been a policy change or not? Apple's statement doesn't make sense - how can the Kindle and Nook apps have been approved is there was a requirement to have content available for purchase in-app?
- This cash grab by Apple feels clumsy to me, especially if the company still wants to grab 30% of the in-app price. The only way the market can cope with this is differential pricing.
- Differential pricing is likely to harm consumers, so expect regulators to be interested in this move.
- It's also likely to be harmful to Apple. Nonsense like differential pricing will confuse consumers and make Android tablets seem like a better option.
- Would people pay 30% more for a 1-click in-app purchase of an ebook?
- Does the likes of Amazon have the power to strong-arm this 30% down to something more manageable (and reasonable)?
- I still don't see the Kindle app being yanked from iTunes over this.
- Does Apple plan to make iBooks app part of the iOS rather than being an optional download as it is now?
Lots of questions, little in the way of answers.