Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Changing My Mind About the Amazon Kindle

A while ago, I said that the Kindle is a pointless device given the price difference between something that only displays ebooks and a tablet computer that can do pretty much anything that any other computer can do.

However, I am beginning to change my mind.

Earlier this week, Apple announced that it is going to start enforcing its rules that mean that content must be acquired through iTunes, where Apple can of course make money. It would be like being forced to only by a BMW through a BMW dealer. OK, you might be able to live with that to get a BMW. But then you are also forced to buy your petrol (gas), car washes, bags of sweets and pine tree shaped air fresheners through the BMW garage too. You might feel that BMW were taking advantage of your allegiance to their brand.

Personally, I feel that Apple's philosophy is, "You bought an Apple. You love Apple. Apple is your life. You don't need anything else. We own you." They're like a paranoid, clingy, dependent lover that just happens to be holding a gun to your head.

Here's a snippet of the story from The Bookseller:

Apple is finally getting round to enforcing its new app purchasing guidelines after reports emerged over the weekend of direct purchasing links being removed from some third-party apps

E-book companies now have the option of selling direct through Apple's iTunes store at a cost of 30% per transaction, or hoping customers buy direct from their own stores and use the app only for reading the purchased material.

The simple fact it that no third-party aggregator can afford to pay a 30% fee for being the middle-man on a platform it does not own itself, meaning that in the short term the e-book market is going to be a less interesting environment for book readers and a less useful place for those interested in developing e-book apps.

To explain this simply, here's what has happened.

You go to the iTunes store, looking for ebooks. To read an ebook, you have to BUY an ebook app such as iBooks. Of course, the majority are free because the developer wants to make their money on ebook sales, not on the app itself. So you download the app.

You BUY some books for the app from iTunes, on which Apple makes a profit.

Inside the app is a link to find more books, which you can buy direct from the developer's website, which saves all the hassle of having to buy through iTunes, which normally involves the download failing half way through, you not getting a refund and not being able to re-download, so you have to buy another copy and then chase Apple for a refund.

So you buy the book on the developer's site and read it on your iPad.

Not any more. Apple are now forcing you to buy all content through iTunes and preventing you from buying content elsewhere.

Hang on.... We just paid £600 for the thing, and you're going to dictate where I can and can't get the stuff that I use it for?

Sorry, Apple, I just don't feel the same way about you any more... Now, put the gun down.

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