In recent days the leaders at Apple computer have decided to attempt a hijack of the eBook market. How? By requiring a tariff from outside companies who manufacture an application to read their product on Apple devices such as iPads and iPhones. As the owner of a Sony Reader, I take umbrage at this attempt at monopolizing the eBook market. Here’s how it works: You purchase a book from Sony’s online book store and then attempt to port it to your Apple iPad. Sony has an app you can use to make this process seamless but Apple decided to block it and ask for a thirty percent cut of the sale of the book you just bought for the privilege of reading it on their devices. That would be like buying a book on sale at a Books-a-Million store and then having to pay a fee to read it while you’re shopping at a Barnes and Noble. It’s either that or the Books-a-Million has to pay the store for you. In the eBook world, this will keep prices higher than usual.
For a few years now, I’ve written several pieces on the eBook market and the growing need for a universal format. The ePub format appears to be the answer at least for now. The only device that cannot read an ePub file is the Amazon Kindle for the same selfish reason that Apple is trying to block eBooks not purchased in their online store. GREED! Apple wants to have you pay a premium for a tablet PC that does less than many notebook computers costing less. Then, they want you to buy the books you read on it from them. If you shop around and find a better deal, you had better hope the book works on your device. This proprietary mindset is the very reason I’ve never purchased an Apple product even though I know they are well-made. I can usually find a device to do the same thing just as well with the same quality for a lower price. I purchased my Sony Reader a few years back before the boom in eBooks really took off. It’s a wonderful device and it has held up remarkably well. I have neither the cash or the desire to change or upgrade at this time but if I did, I can guarantee you I wouldn’t even consider Apple now. If I want a tablet PC, I’ll purchase a Samsung with the Android OS in it before I’ll waste my money on a company that wants to hijack their competition rather than try to be better. In the eBook market, Apple needs to sell its products at a reasonable cost to compete. That would give me a reason to shop their online store when I’m looking for an eBook. Google did this and Sony has adjusted some of its prices to stay competitive. I can now buy many eBooks for my Sony Reader from Google for less than what Amazon customers pay for their Kindle eBooks.
It’s time for publishers to take a stand here and make their products universal so they can be used across a wide spectrum. Booksellers in the eBook market should be able to competitively price their products just like real brick and mortar book stores do today. Apple certainly can TRY to lay claim to a 30-percent cut of Sony’s profits on Apple formatted eBooks but I hope consumers will see this for what it is…a big money grab on the part of Apple. I hope they fail miserably.