Ebook Reader Apps Updated to Comply with App Store Rules

Several ebook reader apps, including those of Amazon (Kindle), Barnes and Noble (Nook), and Kobo, have removed in-app links to their online ebook stores in order to comply with App Store guidelines. Updates for the Kindle, Nook, Kobo and Google Books app hit the App Store in the past few days, the timing of which suggests a deadline not announced to the public.

Kobo sent out an email to customers noting this change yesterday:

Last month Apple revised its App Store Review Guidelines, removing a requirement that all apps that accessed content purchased elsewhere also offer the ability to purchase that content within the app at the same or a lower price. In conjunction with this removal, Apple clarified that apps that include a link to purchase content outside of an app that is not also available for purchase within an app — and therefore subject to Apple’s 30% cut — would be rejected.

The enforcement of these guidelines leave Apple with the only ebook store easily accessible from its iOS devices through its own iBooks app.

I purchase ebooks from Amazon and Barnes and Noble and I am disappointed to see these handy in-app links to their respective ebook stores go away, though it’s an inconvenience easily remedied by simply bookmarking them in Safari.


Amazon Kindle

Last Changed: 2 days ago
Rating: 4.00 (46)
Version: 6.6
iOS Universal

Turn your iPhone or iPad into a Kindle with the free Kindle app, and carry all your eBooks with you, wherever you go. eBooks (including those with narration) that you have purchased on Amazon will...


NOOK from Barnes & Noble -...

Last Changed: 82 months ago
Rating: 2.50 (370)
Version: 3.1.1
iOS Universal

NOOK™ for iPad and iPhone from Barnes & Noble offers an incredible reading experience for NOOK Books, magazines and newspapers including New York Times Best Sellers, new releases and hot...


Kobo Books

Last Changed: 1 week ago
Rating: 4.50 (88)
Version: 9.5.2
iOS Universal

Join millions of readers around the world and access eBooks and audiobooks all on one app. Go shelf-less and take your reading adventures on the go. With over 5 million titles to choose from,...


Google Play Books

Last Changed: 2 weeks ago
Rating: 3.50 (18)
Version: 4.1.1
iOS Universal

All the books you love. On the page or out loud. Anywhere you are.   Meet Google Play Books for iOS: the one app to enjoy ebooks and audiobooks from Google Play.   Dive into a great book today...



I am disgusted by this. I enjoy Apple products, but this decision only hurts and impairs the customers. I believe Apple was receiving a percentage of ebooks sales anyway. I LOVE my IPad 2 and I intend on purchasing two more tablets (husband & son) this month. I’ll consider other brands because of this greed. Shame, shame, shame!


This is just ridiculous. How is this not considered anti-competitive behavior again? The only reason they are doing this is to make their book store the most convenient, so that they can sell more books, because they’re getting their butts kicked by Amazon in this regard! Amazon spends all of the money hosting the product being sold, and the iPhone is simply another “reader” for a service being offered elsewhere. Where does Apple get off thinking that it would be entitled to a cut? They don’t host the books, and the kindle app is tiny!!! If Microsoft did something similar to this 10 years ago they would have been crucified. I love Apple’s products, but why does Apple get a pass on this obviously egregious overstep?


Well this blows! I used my IPOD or IPAD as my reader anyway. but I did like browsing or buying from the other sites on my iPad


It bears emphasizing that (as noted in the story above) if one goes to the Kindle store site and bookmarks it from Safari, the user has the option of placing the page on the iPad desktop where it can be accessed directly. In the past I’ve purchased books primarily from iBooks and occasionally from Amazon. From now on, I’ll be purchasing ebooks directly from Amazon.


Amazon made apps that had links to Amazons website remove them last year. Why is this any different? I bet Bruji has a great big smile on their face right now.

The Zinio app is still allowed to let you purchase magazines via its app because they set it up as an in app purchase and Apple gets its cut. B&N, Amazon and others could re-write their apps to use in app purchases to buy books and then they would allow it.

Its not being greedy, its being competitive. I use iBooks, but a lot of my purchases are from websites other than Apples.

Ben King

Ultimately this is one more division between kindle style readers and the iPad. This maneuver is ultimately bad for Apple because most content is cheaper coming from sources other than apple. As a reader the Kindle is cheaper, the books are usually cheaper and even the audiobooks are cheaper. Anybody who watches the pennies has probably already bought most of their books outside of Apple. Apple owners may be ok paying a premium for hardware but the same cannot be said for content. This change is making the iPad one step closer to being used primarily as an expensive gaming toy only and one step away from an all in one reader. Usually Apple does pretty good marketing but this has been a bone head move by Apple.

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