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Apple tried to ban an insider’s book about the company – now it’s a bestseller

February 23rd, 2020 at 2:07 PM
Apple App Store

If Apple was hopeful that it could succeed in shutting down the publication of a new book entitled App Store Confidential by former executive Tom Sadowski — who until the end of last year led the iPhone maker’s App Store for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland — the company’s efforts certainly haven’t worked so far. Indeed, they may have backfired.

After the German-language book (which is available right now on Amazon) was published a few days ago, Apple sent a cease-and-desist letter to the book’s German publishing company demanding a halt to publication, a recall of the manuscripts, and that those manuscripts be destroyed. Apple’s contention is that Sadowski has disclosed important trade secrets. Unfortunately for the company, though, the attention that its efforts brought to the book seems to have helped to juice its sales.

The book’s publisher told Reuters that the first print run for App Store Confidential included 4,000 copies and has been selling quite nicely. In fact, the publisher has rushed out an additional print run — and as of the time of this writing, the book is currently sitting at #2 on Amazon’s bestseller list in Germany. “Everyone is talking about it,” said one executive at the publisher.

The book’s official description teases that “few know how the App Store works. Until now,” and it goes on to hint that readers will be taken behind the curtain of the App Store. That they’ll get a sense of how an app becomes successful and even “App of the Year,” as well as developer do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when working with Apple.

Right at the beginning of the book, Sadowski writes that it will not reveal any great secrets of the company and that the contents of the book are all publicly verifiable and include facts that have already been disseminated. Among the do’s and don’ts he lists for App Store developers — if you’re working on a fitness app, for example, then it better be compatible with Apple Watch if you want to have even a prayer of getting it prominently listed in the App Store.

On a related note, the flap between Apple and Sadowski also extends beyond the book itself. Apple says it fired him once it found out about his book. Sadowski says that, no, he quit of his own accord and it was only after that when the plans for his book became known.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.

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