Yesterday the Google Books app mysteriously disappeared from the Apple App Store and now it’s back again. But this time around, it’s been neutered. Just like the eBook apps from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Kobo, Google Books no longer allows in-app purchases for new books. This is in compliance to Apple’s updated App Store rules that requires apps to split revenue made from in-app sales.
Since eBook retailers already need to split revenue with the book publishers, they’ve been unwilling to give up even more of their profits to Apple to allow in-app purchases from their apps. This makes it a minor inconvenience to users of the book service as now they will have to load up the website for the eBook store to purchase new books and then sync it to their iPad tablets instead of being able to do everything from the app itself.
While it’s all just business for Apple, doesn’t it remind you of the Internet Explorer era back in the 1990s where Microsoft made it the default browser for Windows and everybody had a problem with it? If iBooks becomes the only app available on iOS that has in-app purchasing for books, I wonder how will the US courts will feel about it.