Amazon Strikes Back

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Apple has headlined ePublishing news of late, but last week Amazon launched a brand new service, Kindle Cloud Reader, a service that allows users to read books online through any browser using HTML5, and the publishing world is buzzing. Of course, keep in mind that the launch of this service is due in part to Apple’s new restrictions (use iBooks or perish) on the way eBooks can be purchased and read on third party apps such as Kindle, Nook and Google.

In order for the Kindle to continue to work the way it did on the iOS, Apple set up a 30 percent royalty payment plan. Basically, third party sellers such as Amazon had to give Apple 30 percent of their profits on the iOS.

Doug Aamoth of Techland looks at it from an Amazon standpoint: “Let’s say you’re Amazon and you’ve been selling e-books for the past couple years at around $10 a pop. That’s your pricing model. And all of a sudden, the books you sell on the apps that you’ve developed for some of the most popular mobile devices around—iPhone and iPad—will now see a 30 percent cut go right to Apple. That’s not going to work for you, especially considering that Apple sells its own e-books, too1.”

Apple is getting greedy, and Amazon isn’t putting up with it. Its new service lets users continue to read books on iOS by redirecting them to a webpage where they can stream the content they want to view. This eliminates having to go through the new app restrictions while still allowing the company the functionality of Apple’s devices.

Calvin Reid of Publishers Weekly talks benefits: “Amazon can offer and market their titles for sale and readers can read their Amazon e-books—online and offline—much as they had previously through the native Apple apps. By setting up an iPad Kindle Store available through the Kindle Cloud Readers/Safari browser with 900,000 titles for sale, Amazon is bypassing Apple’s cut of the sale. The Kindle Cloud Reader gives the reader access to all of their previously purchased Kindle e-books, provides automatic software updates, synchs all titles to the last page read and allows consumers to see all annotations and notes—and e-books can be read offline as well2.”

This is a full-on defiance of Appletalism and other third-party companies are undoubtedly loving Amazon’s efforts to defy the Apple machinery. Apple, of course, is a very intelligent company that has remained on top due to its resilience. The battle is far from over for Amazon and others. I’m sure Apple has many more tricks up its sleeve…





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