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.