Apple Blocks Reader from Opening His iBooks, Or, Why Amazon Won the eBook Market

Apple Blocks Reader from Opening His iBooks, Or, Why Amazon Won the eBook Market Apple DRM Yesterday we learned that Amazon has claimed 74% of the US ebook market, and by some serendipity, today I get to show you a reason why.

Writing over at BoingBoing, Mark Frauenfelder relays his frustrating experience with Apple's arcane rules:

I apparently made a mistake somewhere down the line when I was setting up my family accounts on iCloud. (It's confusing, at least to me.) Now Apple is punishing me by locking me out of my purchased iBooks for 90 days.

After 90 days, I bet I will make another mistake and get punished again for not being as smart as Apple thinks I should be. In any case, I will never buy another ebook from Apple.

And this is why Amazon won. It's not that Amazon is perfect (goodness, no); they're just a little more technically competent and lots nicer to their customers.

While one can appreciate Apple's interest in limiting the number of accounts one ties to an app, blocking an iPhone owner from reading the ebooks he bought on this particular iPhone is just nuts.

It's a great reminder to only buy content that can be freed from the DRM. As Cory Doctorow says, if you can't open it then you don't own it.

images by Giuseppe Bognanni, Frauenfelder

About Nate Hoffelder (9906 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

4 Comments on Apple Blocks Reader from Opening His iBooks, Or, Why Amazon Won the eBook Market

  1. The problems are that Apple does not permit merging of apple id’s, nor shows which computers are authorized. And that the policy of only 5 devices/computers is obsolete. And, for users, that DRM of books is not breakable [AFAIK].
    I have been using and buying Apple products since late 1979. And I have been buying books from Amazon since 1998.
    Aside from the fact that books from Amazon are cheaper, I know that I can DRM-ed them with Calibre and external plugins. The experience of buying books is excellent. The only thing that bothers me is that I have first to convert epubs [I buy books in Spanish from and they use DRM from Adobe] to mobi to read them on a Kindle. I wish that they allow epubs direcly rather than first converting to mobi (I know that is wishful thinking).

  2. Between the combination of DRM forced upon us by the publishers and by Amazon not using the open source E-pub format (I don’t say industry standard as Amazon’s standard is obviously the most commonly used), we don’t have the customer service that we should be getting in this day and age. The Kindle e-reader could be better if we could read e-pubs. Instead, we have to use Calibre to convert our epubs in order to side load them onto our Kindles.

    What is the solution? We use a smartphone or Ipad/tablet and read ebooks in the app supplied by the store where we buy our books. This is not great since each app has its little quirks and we don’t get a consistent reading experience

  3. Difficult to teach this old person new tricks – I still purchase books in paper.

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