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.