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

apple ibooks blockedYesterday 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

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fahirsch October 10, 2015 um 6:51 pm

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 And that the policy of only 5 devices/computers is obsolete.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).

Hayden October 11, 2015 um 4:07 am

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

Wie man seine Kunden vergrault | König von Haunstetten October 11, 2015 um 7:09 am

[…] Digital Reader hat heute einen interessanten Artikel über die Tücken der Technik bei Apple. Und dass man sich so mal ganz locker den Zugang zu den eBooks versperrt die man eigentlich gekauft […]

Bob Braxton October 16, 2015 um 3:10 pm

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

Nate Hoffelder October 16, 2015 um 3:12 pm

What is this "paper" you speak of? Since when did they start making ebooks out of "paper"?

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