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Tom Semple
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Apple should consider revising their in-app purchase polices when it comes to digital content sales. 30% is reasonable when the content is owned by the app developer (games) but not when the app is selling other people's content. Yes, B&N might do well to accept 70% rather than 100% . But by the same token, Apple might do well to accept 10-15% rather than 0%. And of course, that would also enable the best user experience for people using Apple hardware.
BTW, for some innovation in reading apps, check out 'Marvin' for iPad. There are some nice ePub apps on Android too. The reason vendor apps are so pared down is that they are in the business of selling books and anything spent on app development requires some justification. You might have seen Baldar Bjarnason's recent post about B&N, echoing some of your thoughts but arguing that they should outsource app development as well as discontinuing hardware development. Someday, I'd like to have the ability to separate consumption (reading app), cloud (storage, syncing, annotation backup), and storefront in a seamless fashion, choosing best of class. DRM, and lack of standards for interfacing these things, makes that a bit of a challenge.
The fly in the 'no hardware' ointment is that iOS remains a very popular mobile platform (approaching 40% overall, and over 50% share on tablets), but Apple effectively does not let ebook retailers link their branded reading app to a storefront without giving Apple a cut. Without such integration, it is difficult to get people to bookmark your storefront and use the browser to buy ebooks. Meanwhile a third of the Android tablet market, Kindle Fire, is off limits to the Nook app. And even though Nook for Android has a storefront built in, it is not very alluring (a quality that I think pertains to their web storefront as well). There aren't any easy solutions here but I agree it starts with focussing on the customer experience (storefront and reading), so they can attract new customers.
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Feb 27, 2013