Apple Backs Down & Allows eBook Which Mentions Amazon

A few days ago I brought you the frustrating tale of Holly Lisle, an author who had tried and failed to get a certain ebook into the iBookstore.

Apple first rejected the ebook because it linked to Amazon, and then because it simply mentioned Amazon. Even though this ebook was part of a series on publishing an ebook, some faceless Apple flunky didn’t approve of Holly mentioning the name of the biggest ebookstore in the world.

Today I’ve learned that Apple has conceded this issue and will allow the ebooks – complete with the links. Holly was invited to resubmit the ebook in question as well as the rest of the series:

He (the Apple rep) told me he and others had been over How To Think Sideways Lesson 6, and that, to quote him, “We made a mistake.” He said that on review, he and others had seen that the lesson was entirely within their TOS, that my use of the links had (as I stated) not been there to sell individual products, but to demonstrate a useful technique that taught my students a writing skill.

I wouldn’t be too thrilled with this victory for right over wrong; Apple did finally back down and allow for the reasonable inclusions of the links that were needed for the lesson, think of what it took to get their attention. Considering that it took half the internet rising up in protest to accomplish it, this isn’t much of a victory.

The thing is, they haven’t changed their policy, and it is they’ve had in place for quite some time. According to Joshua Tallent of eBook Architects, “Apple has been rejecting titles with references to Amazon or Kindle for a long time (since that tweet from January of last year). ”

All Apple did here was mollify the mob in this one situation. Apple is still the type of monolithic, impersonal, and indifferent company that will only change its mind if half the internet complains. That is a problem, and I see it as a good reason not to do much business with them.


Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. George2 August, 2012

    So, if one submitted a book to the ibookstore or whatever it’s called which included a passage such as “Alan knew it would be a long train ride, so he pulled out his Kindle & settled into a good mystery story. Little did he know a real mystery was headed his way,” Apple would reject it?

    1. Nate Hoffelder2 August, 2012

      Maybe. It depends on the mood of the Apple flunky who is censoring the iBookstore that day.

      1. fjtorres2 August, 2012

        The only thing worse than a petty approval process is an arbitrary and inconsistent approval process.

        1. George2 August, 2012

          Ain’t that the truth. Such things just help cement my disdain & disgust for Apple even more.

    2. Timothy Wilhoit2 August, 2012

      “Little did he know a real mystery was headed his way.”

      The real mystery was whether Apple’s little-trained minion would capriciously reject his ebook submission. 😉

      1. George2 August, 2012

        It’s the story that was made to be written…just not published by Apple. 🙂

  2. SteveH3 August, 2012

    I have a question into the ibookstore currently to try and clarify if links to Amazon non-book (thus non-competing ?) products are ok or not. I’ll post again when I get an answer.

  3. Ereader NL Apple verwerpt (en verwelkomt) ebook met Amazon-links » Ereader NL3 August, 2012

    […] (Via: The Digital Reader) […]

  4. Kjeld Bülow9 November, 2012

    Apple censorship is just plane disgusting. They do not allow tits, even if it is art – but allow US killings. They are only interested in money and they behave as if they are the GOD. They are shit – sorry even that word is not allowed


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