Apple Rejects Books Containing Links to Amazon
Seth Godin’s book rejected by Apple’s iBookstore?!
They stand to make a tidy sum off Godin’s new book, Stop Stealing Dreams, if his past sales are any indication, and they are. So why would Apple reject it?
RESTRICTIONS OR CENSORSHIP?
Godin explains in his post, Who decides what gets sold in the bookstore? “…because inside the manifesto are links to buy the books I mention in the bibliography. Quoting here from their (Aooke;’) note to me, rejecting the book: “Multiple links to Amazon store. IE page 35, David Weinberger link.”
I hope you will read Godin’s post. As always he stands on the pulpit of principle and his sermons are not only inspiring but thought provoking. But my interest was mostly drawn, and prompted me to retweet his article, because my upcoming book also contains links to purchase at Amazon and elsewhere throughout the book and in the “Recommended” pages at the end.
Will my book also be rejected by the iBookstore? Apparently yes.
Godin wrote, “Apple, apparently, won’t carry an eBook that contains a link to buy a hardcover book from Amazon. That’s amazing to me. It must be a mistake, right?” I’m amazed too. I’m no publishing attorney, but this is disturbing news on many levels.
Godin put some of my own thoughts into words, “First, because the web, like your mind, works best when it’s open. Second, because once bookstores start to censor the books they carry (business reasons, personal taste, etc.) then the door is open for any interest group to work hard to block books with which they disagree. Where does the line get drawn? A key part of the argument about SOPA was that choke points and blacklists break a system that works best when information is allowed to flow freely.”
WORKAROUNDS TO RESTRICTIONS
Mr. Godin spoke of a workaround he provides at his Squidoo site if visited by iPhone or iPad, but one that shouldn’t be necessary because, “These stores can’t have it both ways. The web works because it’s open. The stores (all three of them) need to be too.”
Godin’s workaround is one he admits isn’t an option for all authors, and I would add; especially the technically challenged, like me. But once again twitter comes to the rescue.
There is a much better workaround. And like all great ideas, my reaction was, Duh, why didn’t I think of this myself. In response to my retweet, Mr. John Loughlin, technology prognosticator, replied:
“There’s a simple way around the problem that Seth encountered with his bibliographical links. Seth’s ‘solution’ is less than ideal. Bibliographical Internet links have long been an issue.”
Loughlin pointed me to his site, Ruby White, “Publish eBooks with any links you like!” The Ruby White article also points out other principles that come into play here, but right now because of my imminent publication date, I’m focused on the solution for the everyday how-to writer like me.
How do we circumvent this restriction, get our eBooks accepted by Apple, and still guide our readers to purchase links for resource books?
The Ruby White article points to this being a common problem for academic books for another reason, a problem that begs solutions. It cites broken and dead links. This is something we are all familiar with. As the Ruby White article says, “Files get lost, firewalls change, addresses get shuffled, and Internet resources die. This is known as link rot.”
My books are mostly how-to’s and so links are vital to additional education on the topic and sending my readers to people I recommend. Many of these links lead to purchasing a book, often at Amazon.
So, The Ruby White article says, “eBook authors, or their publishers, should use links they control and maintain.” It recommends creating our own page of links at our own site.
Again, Duh Aggie! I have created a companion website for my upcoming book, Amazon Categories Create Best Sellers, where contests, blog visits from professionals and much more are exclusive to my readers. It makes perfect sense for me to add one more page called “Links From Book.”
And now I am headed, before publication is finalized, back to my manuscript to change every URL in the book to just one permanent link where I can update all URLs in the future without publishing an updated book edition. I now have full control over link rot, without ebook store censorship.
As the Ruby White article summarizes, “Apple may prefer Uniform links and Seth may prefer Universal links but more important is a Persistent or Permanent link that is under the control of the creative owner of the work.”
UPDATE: Victory Against More Censorship
Most of us have been watching and even participating in the fight against PayPal and other credit cards censoring the sale of legal fiction in the erotica genre.
I don’t read erotica, actually not much fiction of any kind anymore, but in light of iBookstore’s censorship, I’m so happy to add this note. Mark Coker, owner of Smashwords, met with Paypal in San Jose this week and as a result Paypal reversed their censorship decision. I can hear your cheers.
You can read the full details at Smashword’s blog.