In the wake of last week’s barely disguised usability attack on all ebook apps that aren’t iBooks, Martin Taylor of eReport has posted a call to arms against Apple. “It’s now time for publishers to step in and challenge Apple for the sake of the long term health of the market for ebooks and reading,” he writes. “The way to stop Apple doing more harm is simple: refuse to supply it with the key titles its iBookstore needs to present a credible offering.”

It can be done. Publishers set a precedent for collective action a year ago when they threatened Amazon and other ebook retailers with non-supply if they didn’t buckle under and accept the agency pricing model, ironically a move initiated to smooth Apple’s entry into the market.

Publishers might worry about potential anti-trust actions from such a strategy but they probably shouldn’t. Think about how tough it will be for the US Department of Justice to figure out which of the protagonists, Apple or the publishers, is abusing its market dominance more.

Read the full post at eReport.

(Photo: mikebaird)


  1. This is more a matter of choose your poison. I’ve had Amazon employees tell me that Amazon’s search algorithm’s are deliberately defective, often giving deceptive outcomes that are easy to demonstrate. A less-expensive edition from one publisher, for instance, will be hidden to push customer to buy something more expensive. Who as an author or publisher wants to be a party to that? There’s also Amazon obvious desire to own the ebook market, taking on every role (publisher to retailer) but that of author and rewarding those who only publish through them (Amazon Singles). That’s as dangerous for authors as anything Apple is doing. Then, of course, there’s Apple, full of hubris and thinking it knows more about publishing than authors and publishers who have been in the field for decades. Apple wants to dictate prices and push certain formats and features that are faddish at Cupertino but not that practical. It won’t keep to ePub standards, making preparing books for it an exercise in hand-coding.. Its ebooks can be read on only one platform, iDevices, so your readers won’t be able to even read them on their MacBooks, much less a PC or Android device. And now this latest move to play the monopolist. Apple wants to punish with UI hassles those who buy from competitors who support more than one platform. What’s that line from Shakespeare about “a pox on both your houses”? While there are now more opportunities for authors than ever before, there are also more unnecessary headaches as the industry giants focus more on gaining an advantage on their competitors than in serving the public. For now, I suspect, we’ll just have to grit our teeth and push as publicly as possible for things to improve. We need Amazon to make Apple behave better and vice-versa.

  2. Seems a bit short sighted. Apple is a minor player in the ebook market. Amazon is the 800lb gorilla in this space. Even if it is fashionable to hate Apple I trust them more than I do the Walmart of online stores (aka Amazon), which isn’t saying much since they are both businesses who care more about profit than their customers. Amazon isn’t any more noble than Apple. They’re a business. They’ll do what’s best for them before their customer. Of course, The original post is on an Australian blog so I suppose it’s possible Apple is a bigger deal in ebooks there than the rest of the world

  3. Amazon has a bookstore and a device. Sony has a bookstore and a device. B&N has a bookstore and a device. Apple has a bookstore and a device.

    Amazon won’t let other stores on its device. Sony won’t let other stores on its device. B&N won’t let other stores on its device. Only Apple actually would let other stores on its device, albeit in a limited way.

    So Apple is the one that should be challenged “for the sake of the long term health of the market for ebooks and reading”? Hilarious.

  4. Whereas Apple have made there position clear regarding in app stores; this not as simple as some may have put it. Firstly, yes Apple own a device as with all the others such as Amazon, Sony and Barnes & Noble. However, Apple do not just own a device, they also own an operating system and that to me is the main difference. If the other competitors decided to develop OSs; then perhaps we could see the logic in Apple rejecting the use of in app stores. But as we know this is not the case. The iOS is on the same level as Windows and Google. Whether it be a mobile device or not makes no difference. So by this reckoning, Windows should only allow us to read LIT files purchased from Windows ereader bookstore. It simply does not make any sense. This is about promoting fairness when it comes to making choices when purchasing ebooks. By allowing Apple to continue to ruthlessly dominate ebooks on their OS and devices damages customer experience if customers cannot be given that choice. People will have to decide for themselves in the long run.

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail