Will Apple Take Over The E-Book Market?
g News, which broke the story, said Apple was in talks with publishers, but hadn’t quite ironed out the big issue, subscription revenue. “Apple’s effort is aimed at luring more consumers to the iPad and helping publishers sell subscriptions, rather than single issues,” Bloomberg said. “The main hang-ups between Apple and publishers, including Time Warner, Condé Nast, Hearst Corp. and NewsCorp, are who controls data about users and how to split subscription revenue, the people said. Pricing for subscriptions also hadn’t been worked out.”
Apple and the publishers in on the talks have been cagey with information so far, but much like tripartite alliance meetings behind closed doors, this hasn’t prevented leaks and conjecture from the media. The launch date for the newsstand could be as soon as late November. Or much later, if Apple decides to be its prickly self, and gives the publishers serious uphill over subscription revenues. Indications are that talks have temporarily stalled, although no one really knows whose fault that may be.
What may be another major bone of contention is Apple’s policy of not releasing information relating to iTunes customers. According to Geek.com, publishers who want this information for advertising “are concerned over the revenue sharing terms and Apple’s reluctance to release detailed information about its iTunes-using customers. Publishers want this data for marketing purposes and to bundle print and digital subscriptions.”
There is also the question of whether Apple should be taking a cut from sales at all. Publishers are of the view that Apple should not have control over revenue or user data, which they compare to TV manufacturers taking a cut from shows that air on their devices. However, Apple will have a thing or two to say about that, probably along the lines of their cut being for the user-friendly and very popular platform they provide, rather than for their hardware or the software that runs on it.