Is this one of the first chinks in Apples armor for eBooks? I have tried repeatedly to use the eBook development kit for Apple, and honestly from a user friendly and programmatic viewpoint it is probably the worst chunk of software pushed by Apple. If the eBook fits all specifications and everyone from Amazon to smash words will work with the files we are converting and sending over, they still won’t work with the Apple eBook upload system. Now Amazon has come up with something that pulls a significant chunk of potential revenue right from Apple and back to Amazon’s hands. Welcome to Amazon’s new cloud reader. And it is a shot right across the bow of Apple’s policies about who gets a cut of what when it comes to the sales of a product via the IPad. If you do not believe that it is aimed right at the Ipad, take a look at the Cloud Readers home page.
For authors this is actually a good thing, if you think about it for a moment so bear with me. Amazon has two revenue schemas for eBooks, the 35% royalty option and the 70% royalty option. Amazon has not posted how many people are choosing the 70% option for their royalty schema, but I would lay odds that any book priced over a dollar is taking the 70% option. If you sell your eBook for a dollar then you have to take the 35% option, you cannot choose the 70% option. All the books we publish on Kindle are the 70% option, meaning Amazon gets their 30% cut, and then they charge me for delivery costs of the eBook. Apple taking an additional 30% makes the entire process a money losing business for Amazon for any book priced over a dollar where the author has the 70% option, and Amazon has not just sent over the higher royalty books to Apple. You run the numbers this starts getting costly for Amazon very quickly.
I do not think that a lot of people are going to be worried about buying it online and reading it via the web because it is a simple HTML5 wrapper using the safari rendering engine. This is an elegant and simple way of dealing with the issue, sell it as an app in the app store from Apple, and then there you go, your kindle bookshelf on your Ipad and no one is really going to care about the mechanics of how it got there, or if it resides in the cloud or locally on the device. As long as there is an internet or cell connection, reading books on the beach just got a lot easier and a lot more cost effective for Amazon.
The question is how many other people are going to follow suit to help keep Apple out of the “profit loop” by wrapping their own content in a free application to read, listen, or watch stuff on the Ipad. I know this works for Netflix, now Amazon, who is next on this one, and how long will it take Apple to backlash on this? Apple still has to pay for storing and approving the application, but they will not see a revenue stream from it at all.
- Amazon releases web-based Kindle Cloud Reader app, optimized for iPads (engadget.com)
- Hands on with Kindle Cloud Reader for iPad (gigaom.com)
- Amazon releases Kindle cloud reader web app, sidesteps App Store rules (tuaw.com)
- Amazon’s Answer To Apple’s Terms: A Web-Based Kindle Cloud Reader – Brilliant On PC, Better On iPad (techcrunch.com)