iBooks just failed an important test

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by JulianL, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. JulianL macrumors 65816

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    #1
    Oh dear. I took a leap of faith and decided to support the iBooks format but I'm very disappointed to see it just failed an important test.

    Please do understand, this post is not intended to spark off a political debate but let's face it, in the UK at least, Tony Blair's autobiography is probably the biggest publishing release in the UK this year. I don't particularly want to read it but I tend to use these high profile books as barometers for the general health of the ebook market and always have a quick look to see if they have been released in electronic format. I did this with Blair's book and, as someone who wants iBooks to be successful, I am extremely discouraged to see that the book is available on the Kindle store but is currently not on the iBook store. I view this as a major failing for Apple's iBook content acquisition team and makes me wonder if they are really serious about this.

    OK, it's just one book, but it's a top seller and if Amazon could get it on their electronic shelves then Apple really should have got it too. I'm beginning to wonder about my leap of faith.

    - Julian
     
  2. Piggie macrumors 604

    Piggie

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    Feb 23, 2010
    #2
    Indeed, I showed the iPad to a relative and the Book Store.

    They like science stuff so asked about Steven Hawkins (brief history of time)

    I said no problem and did a search........

    Nothing.......

    I don't know what I was expecting, but I suppose I just took it as read that well known popular modern books would all be there.
     
  3. wingsabr macrumors 6502

    wingsabr

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  4. redbotsoftware macrumors regular

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    Jun 2, 2009
    #4
    It's still very early. I'm sure all these books will show up soon.
     
  5. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    Hartford, CT
  6. thec macrumors newbie

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    Sep 11, 2008
    #6
    Like NT1440 says, grab the app and start reading.........:)
     
  7. Palomonkey71 macrumors newbie

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    Sep 1, 2010
    #7
    One thing they did right was to support the kindle app so that you can get any books you could on a kindle :D
     
  8. Hammie macrumors 65816

    Hammie

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    #8
    I have the iBooks, Kindle, Nook, and Borders readers on my iPad. If one doesn't have the book I want, I look elsewhere. I'm not picky and usually get my books where they are least expensive. I can save .50 sometimes, which may not seem like a lot, but can add up if you buy enough books.

    I understand your disappointment, but there are other readers available. :)
     
  9. JulianL thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Yeah. All good comments. I realise there are other book reader apps available but I was really hoping to avoid splitting my library across multiple apps where, if I want to access a book, I have to remember what format I purchased it in. I've actually converted all my old B&N books to unlocked ePub format and I now keep them on my iBook bookshelf.

    My comment was more related to my specific disappointment with how the Apple team dropped the ball on this one. If their manager is at all engaged with the business then I can imagine that whoever is responsible for the content acquisition with this publisher might be subject to bit of a "Hitler's bunker" moment when his/her boss finds out that Kindle got the rights on the release date and iBooks didn't.

    - Julian
     
  10. poloponies macrumors 68030

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    #10
    If a book doesn't appear in iBooks it's because the publisher is resisting. It has very little to do with Apple.
     
  11. IrishVixen macrumors 68020

    IrishVixen

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    Jun 20, 2010
    #11
    There's a very simple answer behind this: the largest publisher in the world doesn't agree with Apple trying to control the publishing industry, and they refused to enter into a contract that would hand a significant cut of their profits over to Apple and force them into entering agreements under identical terms with all their other retailers. Tony Blair's book was published by a Random House subsidiary.

    This is also why the iBookstore has relatively few books compared to other online retailers. The other major publishing houses went along with Apple's scheme--five of the Big Six are represented in the iBookstore. But without Random House, you lose literally a third or so of what's published.

    Random House, incidentally, is one of the strongest proponents of ebooks, while some of the biggest opponents of the format (Hatchette and MacMillan) sided with Apple. So it's been very interesting to watch this little battle go on.

    For more information, a search in Google on agency pricing in publishing should turn up 9 months of backstory.
     
  12. JulianL thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #12
    I disagree (mostly). That's like saying that if a company loses a big deal because the customer goes with a competitor then no blame attaches to the company that lost. In some cases that might be true but in most cases, if the product offerings were similar, it is probably down to a failing in the sales force and/or a failing elsewhere in the bid team to accurately recognize and address the customer's requirements.

    If we were talking about Harry Potter books then I would agree because JK Rowling has been famously resistent to allowing her works to be published in electronic format but with the Blair book the Amazon/Kindle team managed to get it into their store so the failing does seem to be that The Apple team dropped the ball somewhere in the negotiation, possibly by letting the Amazon team negotiate a limited term exclusive deal on the electronic format. In that case it is clear why the book isn't currently in the iBook store but that is still a failing by the Apple team in allowing that to happen. Alternatively, if the publisher just didn't bother talking to Apple to get it listed in the iBook store then that is a failure of Apple marketing to get the message out to the key publishers that iBooks is a significant player in the ebook market.

    Either way, I worry that Apple aren't getting the necessary traction in the ebook market.

    - Julian
     
  13. IrishVixen macrumors 68020

    IrishVixen

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    #13
    Julian--while I agree with you that this is still more Apple's fault than anyone else's, you're a bit off in your reasoning. Apple's sales force was given no flexibility in dealing with the publishers. Everyone was given the same deal, take it or leave it. It's not their fault that the biggest publisher in the world opted not to deal under the circumstances.

    As I said, this stems from a direct disagreement between Apple and Random House. Apple insists that every publisher accept identical terms, AND that no other retailer be allowed to set lower prices than what shows on Apple's site, which means participating publishers had to renegotiate contracts with every other retailer to match their contract terms with Apple. They're forcing publishers to turn their industry upside down simply to maintain a prescence on the iBookstore, and Random House refused to play along. As a result, none of RH's books are available through Apple.

    Amazon doesn't have an exclusive agreement for early ebook release. In fact, exclusivity agreements are something the industry dislikes a good deal, because it ultimately cuts into their profits. Random House releases ebooks to all their retailers at the same time, on the date of the scheduled hardcover release. Virtually all the major publishers now do the same--it's the one advantage consumers gained through this mess.

    All of this info is culled from literally hundreds of articles on the subject since it first blew up in January. This situation has revolutionized how ebooks are sold, how much is charged for them, and caused some major power shakeups with the industry. None of it has been particularly good for end users, of course, but it's fascinating to watch. It'll be even more so when the current contracts with Apple end next April...
     
  14. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #14
    That's something I'm worried about too when I get my iPad. Hopefully a new version of iOS will provide a dedicated "books" directory that any app can have access to .
     
  15. JulianL thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #15
    The reason I included the "bid team" in my analogy was specifically to include a situation like the above. I had a feeling that any breakdown in negotiations might have been due to Apple being inflexible in their terms so the sales force were sent into the negotiations with a deal that would never be acceptable. In fact in this case it seems clear that the possibility of getting the Blair book onboard was lost many months ago with the original failure to conclude an umbrella deal with Random House. I had realized that it would be an umbrella deal rather than book by book negotiations but I hadn't realized it was related to Random House and ultimately there is still a negotiation behind getting the book, even if it is negotiating the umbrella agreement that subsequently delivers specific books to the iBook Store.

    Thank you for the really valuable and interesting background on this. I was aware in general terms of the issues around the agency model but I hadn't kept up to date so, as content appeared in the iBook store, I had assumed it was resolved. I hadn't realized that there was a holdout amongst the major publishers, especially one as significant as Random House.

    It will be interesting to see how this pans out. Will Jobs Back down? I really worry that his arrogance and stubbornness could seriously damage Apple's push into ebooks. Mature negotiations are supposed to end up with some level of win-win and if a publisher that accounts for a third of content can't bring themselves to sign up to a deal then it seems to me that something is wrong with the deal.

    - Julian
     
  16. Piggie macrumors 604

    Piggie

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    Feb 23, 2010
    #16
    One thing we need to remember.

    The consumer does not and should not be expected to "Care" about any Apple/publisher/copyright issues.

    they have purchased a device partially promoted as a book reader with a book store, and many many books are not there.

    If you walk into a brand new giant book store in real life you want to buy the latest books. You (the customer) are not interested in hearing a long list of excuses from the sales staff as to why such and such books can't be stocked.

    For you that's a failure as a customer.
     
  17. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #17
    Yes and it's a dumb move on the publisher's part. I have bought Kindle versions for my iPhone or iPad, but now I am partial to the iTunes iBook user interface, so Apple's store is the first place I try. If some book publisher is boycotting my cyber-retailer of choice, it's the publisher at fault, not Apple, and I am likely to go to the public library to get the thing, if not skip it all together.

    I was mad for about 30 seconds when I did not find the Blair memoir in iBooks. Then I read about a zillion reviews and blogger takes on the thing, sort of like snacking on corn chips at a giant buffet while thinking about tacos for dinner. And now? I'm no longer hungry, and could not care less if the taco entree never arrives. Had I bought the book in the Apple store, I'd be on page 140 by now, having skipped most of the cyberspace blather about it, and Random House would be pocketing more than the big fat zero they racked up from me today.

    Of course there could still be books that I would want enough to settle for the Kindle version. Should a publisher bank on that? Nope, nor on my making a trip to buy or borrow a hard copy either.

    In the movie "A Good Year," Marion Cotillard reminds Russell Crowe, filling in as a waiter at her restaurant, "Don't forget, in France, the customer is always wrong." Yeah, but in the USA we are also king...
     
  18. Ciclismo macrumors 6502a

    Ciclismo

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    Germany
    #18
    Publishers are whiny little bitches, just like the record companies. They have antiquated ideas of how the market works and are unwilling to change - I am always blown away by the number of books or magazines whose digital copies cost almost as much as their hard-copy versions, even though there is no printing and distribution cost involved. This is just as retarded as the large number of record companies who are still clinging to CD sales instead of releasing music digitally.
     
  19. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #19
    Exactly, there is a huge gold rush for the first to adopt. First, however, there requires a rethinking of how the industry works. They don't want to do it because in the world of technology it means cutting costs for consumers (which enables them to sell in HUGE quantities).

    What they don't realize, however, is that by holding on to their antiquated ideas they are the ones writing their own demise.
     
  20. 3lionsbecks Suspended

    3lionsbecks

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    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #20
    I really don't think that will ever be possible because the books you download have DRM attached to them that make them specific to the App you are using.

    For instance, your Amazon Kindle books are stored on your Amazon account not really on your iPad. There would be no way for another app to access the Amazon database to allow it to download the book into it. Nor would Amazon release the book to a central database on the iPad because it would have to give up control of the book.

    We may have paid for the ebooks we have but we certainly don't own them. Just try lending one to a friend!

    also, for what its worth, I hope Apple fails at their plan to get Random house becuase the prices on Amazon are much cheaper than in iBooks so it wouldn't be fair to amazon users to be forced to pay higher prices because Apple demands it. Right now Amazon is a much better STORE than the Apple iBook store and I hope that stays the same....unless Apple starts to drop the costs its books.

    Also, you can have the Kindle App on multiple devices (including your computer and Kindle, iPad, Ipod Touch, iPhone, blackberry etc......) so it makes Amazon Kindle app the hands down winner right now no question.
     
  21. ChristianJapan macrumors 601

    ChristianJapan

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    日本
    #21
    Are you sure ? Why could I read offline in an aircraft ? The books are locally stored on the device ... Of course the database from Amazon knows on which device you downloaded what book but once downloaded it's consumes the storage locally.
     
  22. 3lionsbecks Suspended

    3lionsbecks

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    #22
    yes. Sorry I wan't clear when I wrote that.

    What I meant was that you don't download the book and then own it. Ie - you can't rip it to a cd and then distribute it....like you can a song.
     
  23. ChristianJapan macrumors 601

    ChristianJapan

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    May 10, 2010
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    日本
    #23
    Sure, you don't own even software you think you buy. You only have the right to use it.
    If you mean with distribute a kind of piracy: yup, that will be difficult. But if you want to lent to a good friend you might could add his device temporary in your list of authorized devices. Then you could share. Not sure if compliant with license agreement this way. But it would match the physical book you also want to get back (ie deauthorize the device). Selling used ebooks I saw somewhere too; but not sure how that works.
     
  24. powersurge macrumors member

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    Apr 30, 2008
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    Pensacola, FL
    #24
    While iBooks is seriously lacking in its selection compared to amazon they are having some issues as well. It seems all of the eBook stores (at least from the samples) have formatting problems and just as an example all of the eBook stores seem to be missing most of Arthur C. Clarke's books just as an example. Big holes in their collections.
     
  25. opera57 macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Yeah personally I would just buy it from kindle if it wasn't on iBooks. Apple's loss, not mine! [​IMG]
     

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