Obviously, I’m aware of the lack of a Kindle Store button in my Kindle for iOS app. However, I recently discovered the hoops Amazon is jumping through to avoid the possibility of paying the in-app purchase fee to Apple.

I was re-reading the fantastic book, [easyazon-link asin=”0385528752″ locale=”us”]Switch[/easyazon-link] by Chip and Dan Heath (highly recommended), and they referenced another book which sounded interesting. I knew I’d not be able to look it up directly in the iPad app, but I thought I could sneak around the restrictions by highlighting the text and bringing up the Google search function in the app. Aha! Amazon link. Let’s click it.

No link to Amazon in Kindle app

Well, that was a big no.

Here’s the ironic part. See the third link down? The one to Barnes & Noble? That link works.

So how crazy is that? Because of Apple’s restrictions, I can buy a book from Amazon’s competitor but not from Amazon itself. Sigh. And this is good for consumers and business how?

Oh, nor can I opt to open the link in Safari and get around it that way. I think they’ve successfully anticipated every possible path I could come up with short of copying the link and pasting it into Safari, which is possible.

Amazon is thorough, that’s certain.


    • @Vicki, I’m well aware of how to do it. I’m just pointing out that Amazon has been quite thorough in their (understandable) attempts to avoid paying Apple the 30%. And how odd it is that it’s easier to buy a book from B&N through the Kindle for iOS app than to buy a Kindle book.

  1. Thank you for pointing this out.
    This is yet another reason for me to never ever buy any iOS device.
    This is yet another reason for me to be deeply suspicious of ANY “walled garden” system.
    If I discovered such limitation on a newly purchased system I would most probably want a refund, because the device is broken.

    When such things happen – like somebody is going to prevent me from a copy-paste a tiny snipet of text form a page or something like that, I am howling with rage. In such situation I am likely to spend lots of rime researching the possibility of rooting, jailbreaking, hacking modifying or fooling the system. When I pay full price for a device it is mine to use how I see fit. Period.

  2. This is old news, of course, but I think it is to Apple’s discredit that they persist in having these arbitrary restrictions like this. They should view in-app purchase as a service that they offer to developers, not as a requirement when it comes to digital media. After all, you can get apps that allow purchase of all manner of physical goods in-app without Apple getting any cut whatsoever. 30% might well be appropriate for sellers who don’t have the resources to set up their own shopping cart.

    I don’t know if it is true, but I’ve read that even if Amazon was willing to give Apple a cut for in-app purchasing, Apple’s back end for this does not scale out to storefronts with as many items as there are in the Kindle Store. Consider this description of how it works:


    Now think about doing this for 3 million items. Unless Apple exposes some web service API (something they don’t seem to do very much), someone has to sit there in front of a Mac manually entering all of the information with the iTunes Connect app, and updating for each price change. And then of course Apple would very much have access to sales data (at the very least, raw volume and item prices, and you’d have to trust them not to share that with their own retailing operation.

    And we must remember that there was a time when Apple allowed in-app purchase, so long as it launched an out of app purchase workflow with a browser (Apple themselves proposed this as a workaround to their restrictions!). But then they changed their minds. I keep hoping that they’ll realize this makes iOS less attractive as a media consumption device (no such restrictions on competing platforms like Android and Windows) and rethink things.

    I’m not sure how it was that Comixology justified giving Apple a cut before they were acquired by Amazon, but it was certainly a no brainer for Amazon to pull the plug on that. The inconvenience to customers is not entirely negligible, but only Apple can alleviate that.

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