Apple’s (AAPL) digital stores — App Store, iTunes, iBooks — are known for their strict policies and painful approval processes; even the slightest error can get an author’s work barred from the company’s ecosystem. In a rather frightening story, author Holly Lisle, who is known for her online writing guides, described her recent conflict with Apple. Lisle’s latest book, “How To Think Sideways Lesson 6: How To Discover (Or Create) Your Story’s Market,” was rejected from the Cupertino-based company’s iBook store because it contained “live links” to an Amazon (AMZN) website. After the author removed the links, however, Apple rejected the title once more, telling her that the company wouldn’t sell her book because it mentioned an Apple competitor.
In a filing with the United States district court for southern New York, Apple claims the Department of Justice has its story all wrong. The Justice Department filed an antitrust suit against Apple and multiple book publishers earlier this week alleging that the group colluded to fix the prices of electronic books. In a recently released document filed with the court on Wednesday, Apple’s counsel addressed the charges by claiming the DOJ has its story backwards — Apple wasn’t working with publishers to fix eBook prices, it was breaking Amazon’s “monopolistic grip” on the eBook market and the publishing industry. Read on for more. More →
Three separate lawsuits have been filed in China on behalf of 12 writers who claim Apple is selling unlicensed versions of their works in its iBookstore. Apple is accused of selling 59 unlicensed works in total, and the three suits seek a combined $3.5 million in damages. Apple has not denied the allegations, though the company did say that it responds to intellectual property complaints quickly. “As an IP holder ourselves, we understand the importance of protecting intellectual property and when we receive complaints we respond promptly and appropriately,” Beijing-based Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu told the Associated Press. Wang Guohua, a lawyer representing the group of writers, said Apple violated copyright laws by making the books available for purchase without securing the necessary licenses. Wang also said that while some titles were removed after lawsuits were filed in January, many have been uploaded to Apple’s digital store again and Apple has not taken the appropriate measures to prevent the pirated books from being sold. “Some developers, with whom Apple has contracts, put them back online again,” he said. “It is encouragement in disguise, because they did not punish the developers. The developers could have been kicked out. But nothing happened to them.” More →
The United States Department of Justice has warned Apple and five top U.S. book publishers that it plans to file an antitrust lawsuit against them, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday evening. According to the paper’s multiple unnamed sources, the DOJ alleges that Apple colluded with publishers to raise the prices of eBooks sold through Apple’s iBooks store. Publishers named in the report include Simon & Schuster Inc., Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group, Macmillan and HarperCollins Publishers Inc. Read on for more. More →
A new report from Seth Godin of PaidContent claims Apple is rejecting eBooks from its iBooks store that contain links to Amazon. “I just found out that Apple rejecting my new manifesto Stop Stealing Dreams and won’t carry it in their store because inside the manifesto are links to buy the books I mention in the bibliography,” Godin stated. In an email, Apple’s review team told Godin the book was rejected due to “multiple links to Amazon store.” The Cupertino-based company’s move is causing quite a stir, and some argue that if Amazon and Barnes & Noble were to employ the same practices, the world of eBooks would become closed off and censored. “I think that Amazon and Apple and B&N need to take a deep breath and make a decision on principle: what’s inside the book shouldn’t be of concern to a bookstore with a substantial choke on the marketplace,” Godin concluded. “If it’s legal, they ought to let people read it if they choose to.” More →
Apple announced its new digital textbook product last week during a press conference in New York City and some analysts are already viewed the company’s efforts as an early success. According to Global Equity Research analyst Trip Chowdry, Apple sold approximately 350,000 iBooks textbooks within the first three days of availability. Using Global Equity’s third-party tracking system, Chowdry also estimates that Apple’s iBooks Author tools was downloaded 90,000 times during the same period, AllThingsD reports. Those numbers would certainly be impressive, but Apple has not announced any numbers with regard to its new iBooks textbooks product. It is also unclear what percentage of Chowdry’s estimates went to students and what percentage went to curious iPad owners looking to sample Apple’s new interactive textbook product. More →
Still wondering whether Apple will indeed launch a new iPad in the near future with an HD Retina Display? Well, thanks to a tipster, we were able to locate double-resolution iPad images in the latest iBooks app for the iPad. Apple’s next-generation iPad 3 is rumored to feature a high-definition 1,536 x 2,048-pixel display along with a quad-core Apple A6 processor, 4G LTE support and twice the battery life of the iPad 2.
UPDATE: Looks like images like these have been in the iBooks app for quite some time. Maybe Apple just isn’t bothering to remove them since they’ll have to add them right back in March?
UPDATE 2: It seems that a few of these Retina Display-sized iPad images are indeed new, scattered amongst the old files.
Moments ago at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, Apple’s VP of marketing Phil Schiller announced what has been rumored for weeks — Apple is setting its sights on the textbook industry. It seems that Apple will be more of an ally to textbook publishers with its new initiative, however, which is a drastically different approach from the company’s entrance into the music business when it ruffled the feathers of the major labels. Noting the challenges kids face in school, Apple is playing up the company’s strengths in delivering some of the best tools to help publishers deliver great content, made specifically for the iPad. Hit the break for more.
We received a tip from an unproven source claiming to have knowledge of discussions within Apple to possibly purchase Barnes & Noble. While this might seem like a strange move at first, it actually makes a whole lot of sense. Apple would be able to take Barnes & Noble’s vast digital library of books and publications, and fold them into Apple’s own iBooks store. Apple would have no use for the NOOK, and that would likely be discontinued in this scenario. Apple could then convert some of the brick and mortar Barnes & Noble stores into Apple stores and close the rest. It’s out there, and with a price most likely around $1 billion to $1.5 billion, it might be a stretch (though it would barely make a dent in Apple’s giant pile of cash). It also almost makes too much sense for Apple to do this, said another source of ours, mentioning that Apple doesn’t make moves that appear logical to most outside observers at the time. This unproven source also said that iTunes 11 would be released in September along with iOS 5 and iCloud, and will support reading iBooks on computers as well as textbook purchases and rentals.
Apple’s strategy when it comes to much of its i branding has been pretty consistent to date: steal a name, wait for its trademark owner to complain, settle. The Cupertino-based company did it with “iPhone” and again with “iOS,” for example, and now it looks like “iBooks” will play out the same way. New York publisher John T. Colby purchased assets belonging to publisher Byron Preiss several years ago, and included in that buy were more than 1,000 books published under the “ibooks” name. Apple does own a trademark for “IBOOK,” but this trademark covers a PC the company used to sell — the “iBook” — and not books or electronic books. “Apple’s use of the mark ‘iBooks’ to denote the electronic library that can be accessed via its iPad tablet computer and its iPhone is likely to overwhelm the good will of plaintiffs’ ‘ibooks’ and ‘ipicturebooks’ marks and render them virtually worthless,” Colby’s lawsuit states. More →
Titles from major book publisher Random House will now appear in Apple’s iBooks store. The news was one of many talking points covered earlier today at Apple’s media event. Random House had previously been the only major publisher not represented in Apple’s popular iOS book store, as it was not willing to grant Apple the 30% cut taken on titles sold through iBooks. The addition of Random House is a major coup for Apple as it looks to compete with the likes of Amazon’s Kindle bookstore and other popular offerings. Hit the break for Apple’s full press release. More →
Apple updated its popular eBook reader application for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch on Wednesday. iBooks 1.2 adds a variety of new functionality, including the addition of fully illustrated books, the ability to organize books into collections and AirPrint support. Apple’s full change log is as follows:
- Experience fully illustrated books, from children’s picture books to beautifully designed art books, available for download in the iBookstore.
- Organize your books and PDFs into personal Collections. Swipe left or right to jump between Collections.
- Print PDF documents and notes you’ve written in iBooks using AirPrint.
- iBooks now fits more words per page by automatically hyphenating text, available only on iOS 4.2 or later.
The updated iBooks app is available immediately, and current iBooks users will be notified of the update the next time they open the App Store. More →
Apple revealed its top iOS apps of 2010 on Thursday, and the list is broken down into six categories — top free, top paid and top grossing apps for the iPhone and iPod touch, and the same three categories for the iPad. There aren’t many surprises to be found, with Angry Birds taking the top spot in the paid iPhone apps category, and Apple’s Pages app coming in at No. 1 in the paid iPad apps category. Facebook was the top free iPhone app, iBooks was the top free iPad app, and MLB.com At Bat 2010 and iBooks were the top-grossing apps for the iPhone and iPad, respectively. Hit the break for the full list of Apple’s top iOS apps of 2010. More →