Books and Stores

Seth Godin’s latest manifesto was rejected from the iBookstore because he had links to Amazon within the pages of the book.

While I am sympathetic to what he says, I think there are many differences between the “traditional bookstore” and what he is running into at the moment.

  • Traditional bookstores have had a LONG time to get their policies in place
  • Authors did not submit their books to the bookstores … but the publishers
  • The iBookstore acts not just as a store but also a publisher in this case … does every book from every author get published?
  • Traditional books did not link directly to a competitor’s storefront

Also not mentioned is whether a book would get rejected from other e-bookstores if they had explicit links to competitors. Here are some other general thoughts about his entire predicament:

  • He has a generic ePub available online that is easily loaded into iBooks
  • Why are you linking to a 3rd party page that could always change without you knowing?
  • The Domino Project, where he posted his thoughts, is “powered by Amazon” … conflict of interest?

Is Apple wrong here? It’s probably leaning toward probably, but there are always problems in trying to draw direct lines between the physical world and the electronic one. Yes, we would all love it if we could do whatever we want wherever we want and people would just let us do it … and to an extent Apple is! You can load that ePub into iBooks simply by clicking a link on a website, and in many ways it is easier to do that than find something in the iBookstore.

Right now EVERYONE is trying to see how much control they can keep on their independent stores and trying to lessen the number of people you need to interact with in order to get in front of people, but that also means that some traditional roles are being mashed together.

In this case we see bookstore and publisher get smashed into one and it is causing people some headaches. With the App Store Apple mashed together the software publisher and big box retailer. As we consolidate in this way, the method of control (the publishing level) is being moved closer to the customer so we hear about it more.

No one likes seeing sausage being made.

UPDATE: Brian Ford has some thoughts about this whole thing over at Me & Her and I found it enlightening. Sounds like laziness to me.