Apple Restricts eBook Users – Kobo Offers Workaround

Apple, Inc, has placed restrictions on where eBook readers can buy their eBooks when using apps. The restriction? Apps can only lead readers to Apple’s own retail outlet. The change affects users of Amazon’s Kindle app, Barnes and Nobles Nook app, and the Kobo eReader app.

Before this new rule, if someone was using a Kindle, Nook, or Kobo app on an Apple device, they were provided with a link to the apps brand website where they could purchase a book. Apple inc. no longer allows these e-publishing companies to add their links; therefore making every eBook purchase go through the Apple App World. With this, Apple gets 30% of the sales.

Many companies are upset about this including Kobo, Amazon and The Financial Times. Although all three companies have changed their applications, removing links to their stores, to reflect this new rule.

Kobo has developed a workaround – a web based application so that users can go directly to the website from their Safari browser and buy books from there. Once the user has the book downloaded, they will be able to read it on any of their Kobo applications on any device, including iOS. This web application will also be available on other mobile devices such as BlackBerry and Android based devices.

Dan Leibeu, the chief thechnology officer at Kobo mentioned in an interview: “We can either sell content through Apple’s in-app purchasing mechanism — if we do so we’re required to pay 30% of the transaction to Apple — alternatively, we can remove any ability to purchase or links to abilities to purchase … Apple’s being quite stringent of their interpretation of the policy, and anything that allows customers to create an account or link back to the site is being rejected.”

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