Why I won't use iBooks now
If you’ve been following this blog, you know I’m a big reader/champion of ebooks. I split my purchases more or less evenly between Kobo and Kindle. I prefer Kobo because of its social media features, but it doesn’t have all the books that Kindle does. I’ve purchased a few books on the iBookstore, but I don’t like it as much as the other services. The design is a typical Apple mix of elegance and common sense, but again, I prefer Kobo because of its richer social features.
So I’m disappointed by the news that Apple is crippling the apps of other booksellers on its iOS devices by forcing them to remove in-app links to their stores or give Apple a 30% cut — the booksellers’ profit margin on most books. Apparently Apple is even rejecting apps that mention the websites of their parent booksellers. Which means the only apps they are approving are apps that don’t contain any information on how to purchase books….
From a business perspective, I understand the logic behind this. Apple’s bookselling service has failed to become the iTunes of books because the competition was there first and just does a better job on most fronts. Why would people switch to iBooks when they’re comfortable with Kindle and Kobo? So Apple makes them switch by breaking the competitors’ apps, so it becomes just plain easier to use iBooks to buy books.
But that’s a crappy business model and, well, pretty much the opposite of what Apple normally does. This is more a Microsoft move — “We’re going to force you to use an inferior product by removing your options.” If iBooks isn’t performing the way Apple wants it to perform, then Apple should improve iBooks, not try to shut down the innovative competitors. The design is already great for the iBooks app — now add some social media features, better preview options, that sort of thing. I’m sure the forthcoming Apple cloud will be of interest to many readers, as it will presumably allow them to access their books on any device, and it’s innovations like that they should be using to make their service stand out. Make people use it for the same reason they use other Apple products — because they’re better than the competition.
I rarely used iBooks before because it wasn’t a great service. I won’t use it all now.