Monday, July 25, 2011

Kindle books still readable on Apple devices but Buy button removed -- 100 newspapers + magazines now readable via Kindle Apple app

KINDLE BUY BUTTON REMOVED FROM APPLE DEVICES

Amazon explained today (along with Barnes and Noble, Kobo and others) that offering books via a 'Buy' button within a app on an Apple device will no longer be done.
' The Amazon Kindle team says:
(AMAZON OFFICIAL)
Initial post: Jul 25, 2011 8:17:43 AM PDT

We wanted to let you know that we've updated our Kindle app for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.  The big change is that you can now use the Kindle app to read over 100 Kindle newspapers and magazines including the Economist, as well as share favorite passages from your reading via Facebook and Twitter.

 In order to comply with recent policy changes by Apple, we've also removed the "Kindle Store" link from within the app that opened Safari and took you to the Kindle Store.

 You can still shop as you always have - just open Safari and go to www.amazon.com/kindlestore.  If you want, you can bookmark that URL.  Your Kindle books will be delivered automatically to your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, just as before.

Thank you,

The Kindle Team '

Apple did 'soften' its rules (or face the DOJ?) to nominally allow e-readers to allow apps to increase the product price by 30% to give Apple the entire profit margin of a book (it's assumed by all the articles that Apple wanted that full 30%).
  But Amazon is not likely to want the customer to think Amazon is raising the price that high.

  In the meantime, the 30% share that Apple wanted is exactly the entire profit Amazon, B&N, or Kobo would make from a sales of any of the Big6 publishers' books, by Apple's own 'Agency' model used (and which Steve Jobs encouraged the publishers to use in place of traditional wholesaler models).

  So, Apple wanted 100% of the online-bookstores' take on books that would be bought from a link to an external site within the app -- or those vendors would have to offer the customer the option to buy a book at the same price from Apple instead and therefore make $0.00 profit from a sale after Apple's take.

In my February 24 blog article, I explained the title: Why Kindle books will be readable & sync'd on Apple devices no matter what.

Also, for the first time, Kindle users can do something on the Apple devices that they've been able to do on Android devices for months
' Read over 100 newspapers and magazines including The Economist and Reader's Digest with high resolution color images.  Visit the Kindle Store to subscribe to a newspaper or magazine and have each edition automatically delivered, or purchase individual issues ... '

According to Cnet's David Carnoy, Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis said recently, during a visit to CNet offices:
' "Aside from not having any links to an e-bookstore," Serbinis said, "you can't even mention your Web site or explain to readers from within the app how to purchase books and get them onto the device. It's very simple to do, but some people downloading the app for the first time might not figure it out."

... But at least Apple has allowed e-reading apps from other companies to remain in the App Store. You can choose to see that as a magnanimous gesture--or not. '



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16 comments:

  1. Do you have any Amazon tablet info lined up for publication soon? There seemed to be new rumors? over the weekend but they need your clarity.

    Regards, Don Lloyd

    ReplyDelete
  2. Before I updated my iPhone 4 Amazon Kindle ap, I clicked on the Kindle Store button in the reading ap -- at the bottom of the ap is a square with an arrow pointing right and four options show up: "Add Bookmark," "Add to Home Screen," "Mail Link to this Page," and "Print." I opted for "Add to Home Screen," and an Amazon icon appeared on my home screen linking to the mobile kindle store and now I have a permanent icon to the kindle store on my iPhone home screen. Though the new Kindle Application no longer has a "Kindle Store" button within the application itself and I have been able to put the icon into the same folder. The mobile kindle store is far superior than just linking to www.amazon.com/kindlestore because the mobile kindle store was developed to be for mobile devices and the other link for full computer screens. Whole process took less than 1 minute.

    LASoundCrafter

    ReplyDelete
  3. This policy has destroyed a use case that I used to use a bit: using my iPod Touch to review Kindle Store book samples. Now the Buy and Details links in a Sample will not work. While one can of course visit the store via Safari to purchase or view book details, the functionality and convenience of samples is greatly reduced when these links don't work.

    What is more, Amazon's mobile site for Kindle Store does not have a 'add to wish list' choice—you need to switch to the full site to get that option.

    Hopefully Amazon will update the mobile Kindle Store site to add 'add to wish list' option to the choices, or an option to 'send sample & add to wish list' as a single click. I think they'd do well also to offer a web app version of the Kindle app (even with reduced functionality) that preserves store links and bypasses iTunes app store. I think Amazon should submit a 'buy-only' 'Kindle Store' app (which would not as far as I can tell violate any app store guidelines or force Amazon to share revenue, since it wouldn't deliver any content), just to highlight the absurdity.

    I remember thinking that I would just opt not to update the app (thus preserving the store links) and may yet restore the older version, but my curiosity and the prospect of reading the one Kindle subscription I have on my iPod won out.

    In the big scheme of things, it's pretty minor, but it will go in the 'cons' column when I consider purchasing an Apple device in the future. There was no need for Apple to do this. I have yet to buy anything from iBookstore, and have no intention of doing so (unless they begin offering an option to export to Adobe DRM eBook).

    Just as an aside, I wonder how the Audible app has escaped the wrath of Apple thus far. You can certainly initiate 'Shop' with it, and while in my case that has always meant applying a subscription credit rather than initiating a new sale, it does not prevent the latter.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Don,
    All the weekend rumors I saw were very-late stories referencing the older articles... I wish I knew more.

    ReplyDelete
  5. LASoundcrafter, good thinking!

    What is the underlying link to go to the iPhone mobile app version of Amazon's store?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Tom,
    Amazon (I think you know this already but I'm just filling in on the comments) announced they are working on and coming out with a Kindle WEB app. That's another reason I've not worried on this.

    The iPad is a little computer. Imagine if Microsoft started to tell all the Windows app developers they would start taking a percentage of all book and other product sales because of the 'space' allowed on Microsoft OS computers.

    But the ideas you have for the mobile Kindlestore site -- you should write feedback to Amazon on that.

    No idea re Audible. Probably just too busy trying to get everyone else, like Google Books and Wall St. Journal. Apple is not exactly making friends, and they are the richest company around. I guess they're afraid they'll drop a few $$ and then it's all downhill.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Andrys -- the beginning of the link goes like this:

    www.amazon.com/gp/aw/kindle/storefront/ref=kin_iph_

    then, about 50 letters, numbers and symbols follow that might identify my account. If you input that much I indicated above on an iPhone, I think it will take you to the mobile iPhone store application. I did it on mine and it showed up without filling in more.

    LASoundCrafter

    ReplyDelete
  8. LASoundCrafter

    > Andrys -- the beginning of the link goes like this:
    >
    > www.amazon.com/gp/aw/kindle/storefront/ref=kin_iph_

    Interestingly enough, it doesn't work on a computer (which can normally to a mobile version of a site).

    And since it's a referral from an "iph"(one), it doesn't work on my Kindle either.

    I guess it's keyed to work only from an iPhone ...

    Hmmm!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Actually I think Amazon announced they were going to let you read Kindle ebooks 'in a web browser'—not the same thing as a 'web app' (which would among other things allow off-line reading). But it has been awhile since that announcement, still not here.

    In any case, it's probably a little tricky for them due to Topaz format. As far as I can tell, these cannot be previewed like azw using the existing web preview technology that presumably forms the basis of the web-based reader.

    Re Audible, it seems most if not all of the audiobooks in the iTunes store are 'presented by Audible.' So that might well mean there's a mutually beneficial arrangement in place (at least until Amazon's tablet ships...).

    ReplyDelete
  10. Tom, I just meant Amazon's own terminology for the ability to read Kindle books on ANY web browser which means you could just read Kindle books on your iPad even if Apple totally forbade the reading feature of a Kindle Apple-app as some had worried earlier.

    "Kindle for Web"

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Andrys,
    Sadly, while some magazines are available now for reading on Kindle App for iPad, looks like The New Yorker is not one of them. I guess TNY would rather one purchases their iPad App. Of course, the iPad App subscription is more expensive, a huge (100+ MB) download every week, filled w/ tons of ads. Seems that TNY is charging more just for full-screen ads and the ability to actually enjoy the cartoons (not too good on my Kindle 2).

    ReplyDelete
  12. Peter,
    The New Yorker is almost entirely text, and the Kindle edition is useful for text search of their magazines to find an article or a subject.

    The image-versions don't have search of text. So I prefer the text ones. The cartoons on the Kindle 2 and Kindle 3 -- you can put the cursor in the center of the cartoon and click on the magnifying glass and it fills the screen.

    Also, you can use Landscape mode to read the caption better. But I tend to just fill the screen instead if I want to read the caption.

    Good point that you're essentially paying more to see the full-screen ads! I have a NookColor and the draw of that reader-tablet for me is the Nat'l Geo which is really stunning on it. You can't zoom a picture in a normal Nook book for some reason but you can zoom a Nat'l Geo image with zero loss of detail because they're very high resolution photos, and the color couldn't be better.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I wound up restoring the previous Kindle app version, at least for now, and I'm leaving Google Books app alone also (Google's notes on the update don't even mention the removal of the 'Get eBooks' link). Apple can pry these now-outlawed apps from my cold, dead hands (well, or until I update them accidentally ;^) ).

    Meanwhile, at least a couple of other iOS reading apps have yet to put up an update: Bluefire (& its clone, BAM) & Txtr (which has at least 2 clones, one of which had no store link to begin with).

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm finding inkmesh.com works reasonably well as a front-end to the various ebook storefronts (Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Sony etc.), except that it needs to have an optimized 'mobile' web page.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I think that if the Amazon tablets weren't almost surely coming and Android tablets (improving slowly) offering similar apps from these reader developers, Apple would not have softened its stand.

    If all those developers got together and said, we have other places to go and just left, Apple's tablet would be a just shell for those who are in it for the books.

    With the iPad, that's a small group as the tablet attracts more those who want videos, fast color-webbing, games and for whom books are just a now and then thing.

    But it's a large portion of the book e-reading market Apple would be tossing away in favor of trying to make people think the iBook Store is all that people should need.

    But that part of the market is headed away from Apple, and everyone's buying time and getting what they can, on all sides.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I just checked Amazon's other iOS app, Kindle Mobile, which is intended for shopping at their online store. It will let me order printed books, even scanning the bar code on an item, but when I check out a Kindle title, I receive this notice:

    "The mobile app does not currently support Kindle downloads, however you may add the item to you Wish List and purchase it using the browser on your device."

    And just below that is a "Add to Wish List" button.

    I'm not sure how easy it is to get to your wish list through iOSs Safari browser, but that would be one way to get around this Dastardly Apple Rule. Even more interesting would be Apple response if Amazon enables Kindle downloads in Kindle Mobile. It's not in-app purchasing. It's in-another-app purchasing.

    And saving a Kindle book to your Wish List does make it easy to download later via your computer.

    ReplyDelete

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