Apple rejects Seth Godin e-book over Amazon links

On PaidContent (in a post republished from his Domino Project blog), Seth Godin reports that Apple’s iBooks has rejected one of his e-books because it includes Amazon links to purchase the books he lists in the bibliography. He writes:

We’re heading to a world where there are just a handful of influential bookstores (Amazon, Apple, Nook…) and one by one, the principles of open access are disappearing. Apple, apparently, won’t carry an ebook that contains a link to buy a hardcover book from Amazon.

That’s amazing to me. It must be a mistake, right?

He notes that this sort of decision endangers the openness of the web, and also suggests that it could lead to interest groups using the same rationales to get bookstores to block books with which they disagree.

The only thing that really surprises me here is that Godin is so surprised. We already know Apple is the king of the walled garden—it’s made its pocket devices that way, and it’s in the process of making its desktop computers that way too. To expect the company to do anything that aids one of its competitors in even the slightest way is not to have been watching what’s been going on.

I’ll agree with Godin in that it is sad to see happen, but it’s honestly about what I would have expected. But Apple’s e-book offerings are pretty much an also-ran compared to earlier starters Amazon and Barnes & Noble anyway, so it’s perhaps not as bad as it might be.

About Chris Meadows (4149 Articles)
TeleRead Editor Chris Meadows has been writing for us--except for a brief interruption--since 2006. Son of two librarians, he has worked on a third-party help line for Best Buy and holds degrees in computer science and communications. He clearly personifies TeleRead's motto: "For geeks who love books--and book-lovers who love gadgets." Chris lives in Indianapolis and is active in the gamer community.

7 Comments on Apple rejects Seth Godin e-book over Amazon links

  1. “We’re heading to a world where there are just a handful of influential bookstores (Amazon, Apple, Nook…) and one by one, the principles of open access are disappearing.”

    Doesn’t choosing Amazon to link to in the bibliography also help marginalize other bookstores by solely directing business there? Or were there links to, say, Powell’s or other print vendors included also and they didn’t trigger anything?

    Decrying one behemoth attempting to capture a market while supporting the other behemoth also attempting to capture it makes little sense to me.

  2. This must a windup right ? Would the local bookshop allow a writer to include a flier advertising the bookshop next door ? Yeah right.

  3. I actually agree with Howard here.

    Advertising- particularly in a book you paid for – is neither “free speech” nor “creative content”- it’s just annoying. That’s why we can have the do not call list, and why Amazon cuts the price of the Kindle if you subject yourself to it.

  4. Godin’s done some pretty mental things, but this piece of hypocrisy is right up there. His complaint is an ill-considered waste of space.

  5. The last I heard, Amazon doesn’t allow links to Smashwords in Kindle books. Why would any retailer allow links to a competitor?

  6. This is a great way to promote oneself. As long as they spell your name correctly, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

  7. I think it’s reasonable to request that the product doesn’t send people to buy somewhere else.

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