Ereading Apps for Apple Devices Getting Updated to Remove In-app Shopping


Apple Logo

After selling a gazillion or so iDevices, Apple has suddenly decided that it doesn’t like the fact that people are buying ebooks from Amazon, B&N, Kobo and other competitors from within apps without giving them a 30% cut of the purchase.

So now all the ereading apps in the Apple iTunes store are getting updated to remove links and options for purchasing and browsing for ebooks from within the apps; user now have to use the Safari web browser to go to the ebookstore to make purchases from there.

The Kindle app was updated this morning to remove the Kindle Store button that opens the Safari browser and directs to the Kindle Store, so apparently apps can’t even have links that open the web browser. How is that in-app purchasing if it opens the web browser? Links in the homescreen’s menu that directed to Amazon’s help pages and Kindle page were also removed. On the bright side, Amazon added new features to the app. It now supports over 100 newspapers and magazines subscriptions and users can now share quotes and passages on Facebook and Twitter while reading.

The Kobo app was updated over the weekend to remove the Kobo ebookstore, quite a big change since it was fully integrated within the app. Kobo posted about it on their blog basically stating that Apple instituted new rules so they had to remove the ability to shop within the app and that customers need to be aware that they now have to use the Safari browser to shop from Kobo.com directly.

Signs of Apple starting to do this sort of thing started back when the Sony Reader iPhone app was rejected by Apple for having in-app purchasing without giving Apple 30%. That put an end to the Sony Reader app for iPhone. It was never released and all mention of it has disappeared entirely from Sony’s mobile apps page, that just shows the Android app now.

The Wall Street Journal also announced Sunday that they would no longer be selling content to customers through their apps for Apple devices. All links to WSJ will be removed in an upcoming update.

On a grim note, the Google eBooks app for iPhone/iPad has disappeared from the iTunes store completely. Hopefully it will come back, but don’t hold your breath.

Other ereading and news apps will surely be affected by this as well. Unfortunately some of the apps by smaller companies are probably going to get yanked rather than updated. It must be frustrating for app developers when the rules suddenly change mid-stream.

9 Responses to “Ereading Apps for Apple Devices Getting Updated to Remove In-app Shopping”

  1. For some time I have been agonizing over whether to go fully android (my phone is an HTC Desire), as I had been gifted an iPad 1 and had been impressed with the display and ease of use and reliability. I had all the eroding apps, kobo, kindle, zinio and iBooks, which was the one I used hardly at all because I could always find books cheaper elsewhere. I resented the obsessive control of apps, and music by iTunes. I disliked the lack of Flash, connectivity, camera and poor wifi connectivity.
    This move to remove the key in-app buying features of non-Apple readers, or to demand an excessive share of their profit has finally convinced me to switch when the right Androod pad comes along, and I hope it is soon.

    • The Samsung Note series is great. I love android. I have an iPad 2, which I use mostly as a laptop-i have a Bluetooth folio. But I have numerous Samsung devices. Altho a bit pricey, the Note series is superb.

  2. Lots of adverse comments to Apple on the Kobo Blog:- “Changes from Apple affects Kobo’s iPhone/iPad App”, but they need to be where someone from Apple might read them.

    What happens if you don’t apply the Kobo and Kindle updates – can you carry on from within the App as before?

    • Indeed you can. Not installing the update is a good workaround, but then you don’t get the updated features like with the Kindle they just added periodical subscriptions and B&N are about to do the same.

  3. The business practices of Apple Inc. are a picture of greed in action! Their logo should be colored green. This is the number one reason I refuse to buy any of their products. This should come as no shock to anyone who has been around for awhile. Hello, wake up, folks. The Apple people get you hooked and then they reel you in. They are greedy, and we just keep encouraging then to be greedier. Other companies learn from their successful greedy actions and who is the ultimate loser? We the public lose!

  4. Do business with them or buy from them = Apple owns you.

  5. I went back to the Kobo Blog pages which had been deluged with complaints about Apple removing the in-App store for both Kobo and Kindle, and it had disappeared – 404’d and page not found!! It was at http://blog.kobobooks.com/iosstore/
    and I am left wondering what heppened – did Apple’s Dirty Tricks Department blank it, or did Kobo want to stay on the good side (is there one?) of Apple and voluntarily take the hate tirade down?

  6. @Paul
    It’s exactly what I said above… :))

  7. The Google Books and Nook for iPad apps are back.