The truth about Apple and the eReader app changes: Customers lose

The truth about Apple and the eReader app changes: Customers lose

Summary: You may have heard about Apple forcing ebook apps to remove the ability to shop at non-Apple ebookstores from the apps. While within its right to do so, the move is ruining the Apple experience.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Apple, Hardware
42

You may have heard about Apple forcing ebook apps to remove the ability to shop at non-Apple ebookstores from the apps. They were also forced to remove any link to a store on the web, rendering it difficult for Apple's own customers to use the iPhone/iPad to its fullest; at least they can't use it as fully as they did before this week due to the changes.

Dan Frommer has a good take on how these changes are bad for Apple's customers as it leaves them with an inadequate user experience. I agree with Frommer for the most part, due to what I have seen in my own household.

My wife bought an iPhone 4 as soon as it was available on the Verizon network. She has taken to the iPhone like an addict to a banned substance, rarely putting the thing down at home. She has explored the App Store on her own and installed many apps that she uses a lot.

One of the apps she installed was the Kindle app, and since then she has been reading ebooks on her iPhone almost exclusively. Forget that I tried to convince her years ago that ebooks were better than the paper variety, especially on a phone that is always with you, it took doing it herself to convert her reading habits.

Today she is not a happy camper, meaning she is an unhappy customer of Apple's due to the changes Amazon was required to make to the Kindle app. She can no longer easily access the Kindle bookstore on her iPhone, she has to manually open the Safari browser and shop like she would on the desktop. She doesn't like doing this given how easy it used to be, and each time she does she gripes loudly; but she does it. She has no intention of switching to Apple's iBooks just to make buying ebooks easier as she's already built up a library of Kindle books. She is the type of customer Apple loves, a loyal one, and now she's ticked off at Apple over the change.

I understand that Apple has the right to handle its own App Store anyway it sees fit. I agree that it had every right to change the way in-app purchases are handled, thus forcing the changes to competing ebook reader apps. But in the long run I am not sure it is in Apple's best interest to have done so. The good (loyal) customers are not going to switch just to make it easier, so Apple is not gaining anything. It is just making its own customers unhappy at Apple.

Image credit: SplatF

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Hardware

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42 comments
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  • RE: The truth about Apple and the eReader app changes: Customers lose

    You should NEVER make a customer feel that all you want is his money.
    aquart
    • RE: The truth about Apple and the eReader app changes: Customers lose

      @aquart hummm... then that would NOT be a US corporation.
      tatiGmail
    • RE: The truth about Apple and the eReader app changes: Customers lose

      @aquart
      if normal human being hear about Apple profit margin he should logically decide not to buy their pieces...
      AdnanPirota
      • Intel's gross margins are 69% against Apple's 42%; how is that no one moans

        @AdnanPirota: ... about it?
        DDERSSS
      • RE: The truth about Apple and the eReader app changes: Customers lose

        @AdnanPirota
        While, I'm not sure what it is exactly, but MS's gross margin in Windows and Office is probably much higher than 42%.
        anono
  • Did she know this was done at Apple's request?

    Or did you tell her?

    I obviously don't have statistics to back me up on this but I would hazard a guess that 99% of Apple's customers will never ever know why that button disappeared. They will assume that this is yet another example where Apple gets the UI right and everyone else gets it wrong.
    toddybottom
    • You're right you have no facts

      And yet you spew your oral garbage of half baked insults anyway.
      @toddybottom
      GoPower
  • RE: The truth about Apple and the eReader app changes: Customers lose

    This is the most ridiculous rant I have ever heard. When the Kindle app still had the button it sent you to safari to purchase new books! Nothing has changed except that you need to go type in the address yourself. Or, I don't know... how about make a freaking bookmark on your homescreen.

    Why would/should apple host an app for a company that they get no money for and then allow that app to sell content from a different website and make it easier to access that site from in the app?

    How about they let the iPhone users choose to purchase IN APP so that Apple gets a piece of the sales cuz they are hosting the app to read the book FOR FREE.

    I should also point out that having the iPhone/iPad app on iOS devices has increased the number of people that are purchasing books from Amazon.
    Geuseppi
    • RE: The truth about Apple and the eReader app changes: Customers lose

      @Geuseppi If I tell my cousin to buy an e book from Amazon then that will increase the number of people purchasing books from Amazon. Weak argument.
      Guyver21
      • RE: The truth about Apple and the eReader app changes: Customers lose

        @Guyver21
        But if you had your own book store, would it be rational to redirect you cousin to amazon. That's basically Apple's position.
        anono
    • RE: The truth about Apple and the eReader app changes: Customers lose

      @Geuseppi

      Yes because we know how expensive it is to host an App. Apple seems fine with getting a cut of the .99$ App purchases so we know the pain threshold lies somewhere beneath .99$. Why then a need for 30% of a purchase that is handled ENTIRELY outside Apple's cost center?
      Answer ... a combo of greed and pushing other competition out of the way for iBooks, etc.
      I am not singling out Apple here ... it is the way of business. Now it is up to Amazon and Barnes and Noble to respond.
      By the way, I have nook on my iPhone and only read using the phone. I have always made all purchases via a browser on my PC. nothing through Apple.
      noagenda
    • RE: The truth about Apple and the eReader app changes: Customers lose

      @Geuseppi

      Agree with you 100%. People are making a mountain out of a mole hill.
      jmiller1978
      • RE: The truth about Apple and the eReader app changes: Customers lose

        @jmiller1978 Google Books, Kindle, Nook, eReader, Kobo, Wattpad, Stanza, and other book readers have been available for years on the ipod Touch, and most have been adapted to the iPad. If I GOT the iPad to surf the web and read ebooks from my choice of reader, because maybe I have a Nook, and the Nook app on my phone and computer, Apple has cause some irritation. But I'm a huge reader of Google books, many free ones in the public domain because I study that lit professionally. Now Google reader is gone, with the unique feature of having the choice to read to OCR flowing text, or the scan of the original it was taken from.

        I didn't purchase an iPad for that--nor will I now. I'm guessing the Google Book app won't be kicked off the Android devices any time soon. Searching for Google books is integral to that app because of the way Google sends you the books. Because I have this less than common need, I will NOT buy an iPad II, and I will seriously consider competing Android tablet. And I'll vocally caution my colleagues.
        bluespapa
    • RE: The truth about Apple and the eReader app changes: Customers lose

      @Geuseppi <br><br>"Why would/should apple host an app for a company that they get no money for and then allow that app to sell content from a different website and make it easier to access that site from in the app?"<br><br>Yeah, right. <br>I wonder why Microsoft allow iTunes on Windows too.<br><br>Seriously, how about developing a good 3rd party developer relationship for the sake app ecosystem? If Apple keep going greedier and greedier that could very well drive developers away and their whole app ecosystem wither..
      Samic
      • RE: The truth about Apple and the eReader app changes: Customers lose

        @Samic
        Yeahhhhhhhhhh Apple really cares if Kindle leaves. Let's see, they have Apple host an app that allows then to use items that are sold from their website, which Apple gets no cut of... Oh yeah, and it directly competes with one of their products.

        That ain't the way business works.
        Geuseppi
      • RE: The truth about Apple and the eReader app changes: Customers lose

        @Geuseppi
        Your arguement is weak because Apple also hosting a tons of free apps that won't genereate any revenue to them. From the USER'S POV, the Kindle app let them to read books on iPad and make iPad itself a use case for them. In that case it was Kindle app that makes reading books on iPad valuable to the user, not the other way around.

        Yeah, Apple probably doesn't cares if Kindle leaves, but Kindle users does. Apple probably will ends up losing users because as all of their books are already in Kindle's ecosystem, they can read books from other device as long as there is a Kindle app.

        Yet iBooks only lives on iDevices. User's has no choices, none, zip, zero.

        I agree, that ain't the way business works. That's why when Amazon has it's own tablet Amazon would, and they should, totally pull out from Apple App Store, and there will be a big loss for Apple.
        Samic
    • RE: The truth about Apple and the eReader app changes: Customers lose

      @Geuseppi I would agree with this if there was an alternative way to purchase apps for my iPad, but there isn't I can only by Apps from and through Apple. These are anti-competitive practices that Apple needs to be called on. This is no different then with the whole Microsoft / IE anti-trust thing.
      clcrockett
      • RE: The truth about Apple and the eReader app changes: Customers lose

        @ccrockett@...
        I may be wrong, but I think you need a monopoly or at least a dominant position to be anti-competitive.
        anono
  • Doesn't matter where you buy ebooks: all have the same price now

    This probably would have been more important when there was actual competition over ebook prices. Seems like all new ebooks are $13.99 across the board from all the booksellers. There is no price competition in ebooks anymore.
    dricks@...
  • RE: The truth about Apple and the eReader app changes: Customers lose

    Look, this is a monopolistic practice by Apple. If Microsoft all sudden said that you can only use Bing as the only search engine on Windows, the Justice Department would be all over it.<br>The Justice Department is asleep on this issue with Apple.
    mktpostal@...