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Amazon Turns Off In-App Purchases In iOS Comixology

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the their-way-or-the-highway dept.

Businesses 244

whisper_jeff writes: "Under the bold assumption that, since they were able to do it with books, they must be able to do it with comics, Amazon has decided to avoid Apple's 30% cut of in app purchases by removing the option from digital comic book platform Comixology for iOS users. It will be interesting to see if digital comic readers leap through the extra hoops to read digital comics on their iOS device or if Amazon has just signed the death knell for their new purchase. Readers may decide that buying a book and buying a comic aren't the same thing — that the extra hoops they're being forced to leap through simply aren't worth it for a comic that takes five minutes to read."

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metaphors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851027)

"signed the death knell"...?

Re: metaphors (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851309)

This really tolls the executioner's wrecking ball.

Re: metaphors (2)

Richy_T (111409) | about 7 months ago | (#46851533)

Quit raining on his chain.

As a big comixology user, this *sucks* (5, Interesting)

dknight (202308) | about 7 months ago | (#46851059)

Honestly, one of the great things about comixology was being able to quickly buy/download the next comic in the series when I was binge-reading. I have *hundreds* of comics through them, but I'm not sure if I will be buying any more with this new system. The kindle thing was enough of a pain, but at least a book takes a little longer to read.

I think they've shot themselves in teh foot on this one.

Re:As a big comixology user, this *sucks* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851203)

As a casual reader, I'll probably never buy one again. This isn't because the change made me mad, but because I just don't give enough of a fuck to buy comics unless it's an impulse purchase.

Re:As a big comixology user, this *sucks* (2)

schnell (163007) | about 7 months ago | (#46851315)

I have *hundreds* of comics through them, but I'm not sure if I will be buying any more with this new system.

Agreed. I have bought hundreds of comics through this app, usually when they are on-sale and/or I'm reading one comic and get hooked and can just use the app to grab the rest of the series or storyline. In-app purchase was key since shopping through the Comixology website was simply not very convenient.

I completely get why Amazon would want to stick it to Apple with a move like this. What I find to be un-Amazon-like is that they are screwing over their customer experience in order to do it. Say what you will about Amazon, they usually work very hard to ensure that it is as easy as possible for customers to hand them money. Here, they're going in the opposite direction just to take a poke at Apple. Very unlike them, and a decision I hope is rectified with a 3.7 version and a mea culpa soon.

Re:As a big comixology user, this *sucks* (3, Interesting)

Richy_T (111409) | about 7 months ago | (#46851539)

It's not just taking a poke at apple. Apples fees are egregiously high. Smaller operators may just be forced to suck it up but Amazon is in the position of making a more tactical decision. Not only do they have their own device(s) but Apple is not exactly without other competitors. I guess they feel they're in a position where they can see how it plays out.

Re: As a big comixology user, this *sucks* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46852073)

I would feel better about Amazon doing this is Amazon didn't charge the exact same 30% fee for transactions through the Kindle store.

Re:As a big comixology user, this *sucks* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46852263)

It's not just taking a poke at apple. Apples fees are egregiously high.

I don't know if you know this, but when you buy comics at a newsstand they keep 50% of the money! That's outrageous! Who do they think they are?

Re:As a big comixology user, this *sucks* (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about 7 months ago | (#46851617)

So, you love the service but not enough just to go to a web site and buy it for 30% (or so) less than you have been paying now?

I can't wait to see more companies rebelling against Apple's ridiculous (and in the case of music, borderline anti-trust) tax on all in-app purchases. The fact is they have priced everyone else but themselves out of the content market on iOS devices since the margin on a lot of content is less than the 30% they take...

Re:As a big comixology user, this *sucks* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851649)

Keep in mind that the people who make the comics basically get less than 10% of the sale cost on comixology. They have no incentive to put anything on comixology other than out of convenience when their print versions fail, or the comic is already available online for free on their own site. No point putting comics on it at a loss.

That said, most of the people I talked to that have stuff on the app are kinda like "meh" so far. It will annoy the readers and send them fleeing to our own apps, but the one thing the comixology reader had was lack of apple staff scrutinizing it.

Apple will not approve comics [apps] with excessive cleavage or butt cleavage in it. Getting past the obscenity filter of Apple is extremely hard, and a good 50% of what is on comixology would never pass on it's own.

Re:As a big comixology user, this *sucks* (3, Informative)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 7 months ago | (#46851755)

So, you love the service but not enough just to go to a web site and buy it for 30% (or so) less than you have been paying now?

That's a rather optimistic assumption.

Re: As a big comixology user, this *sucks* (2)

Jakeula (1427201) | about 7 months ago | (#46851961)

I believe the idea here is that comics would cost more when purchasing them on the iOS version due to them having to pay Apple. I read my comics on Android, so I have no clue if there is a price difference. I imagine their 99 cent deals are likely still priced at 99 cents, so I would expect to find that the comics cost exactly the same price on both platforms. Honestly I can see why Amazon would want to change this immediately. Comixology had no ground to oppose Apples charges, but Amazon has the cash to front the costs of this move. I mean, if I just bought a company and a good portion of my purchases came from a platform that charged 30% I would rethink things as well.

Re: As a big comixology user, this *sucks* (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46852169)

I believe the idea here is that comics would cost more when purchasing them on the iOS version due to them having to pay Apple.

Which is not the case, since the terms of selling such items through your iOS app include:
1) You must use Apple's system to accept payments
2) Apple takes a 30% cut of all sales using Apple's system
3) You are not permitted to charge a lower price elsewhere.

Re: As a big comixology user, this *sucks* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851873)

I know the site's been accused of dumbing down stories, but how much of an idiot do you have to be to assume that this means a 30% price cut?

Re:As a big comixology user, this *sucks* (4, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 7 months ago | (#46851633)

Honestly, one of the great things about comixology was being able to quickly buy/download the next comic in the series when I was binge-reading. I have *hundreds* of comics through them, but I'm not sure if I will be buying any more with this new system. The kindle thing was enough of a pain, but at least a book takes a little longer to read.

I think they've shot themselves in teh foot on this one.

And you know what? Comixology knew that, that's why they sucked it up and gave Apple the 30% (though to be honest, the wholesale price Comixology paid meant they still made a profit - even raw comic books that sell for $4 probably cost the store $2 or less). Because by making the user jump through hoops to buy it to get that extra 30% means they'll lose the impulse-buy. And impulse-buy is big - for every person willing to jump through a hoop, 10-20 would just do one-click purchasing (just ask Amazon - if One-Click didn't work, why bother suing B&N over it?), making that 30% easily justifiable.

And no, Amazon won't sell it online any cheaper - they can't. Diamond Comics (the SOLE comic distributor for practically ALL comics worldwide) has a virtual monopoly on it, and they view any reseller that undercuts others (comic stores) very dimly. The only time it doesn't matter is when the items are available through other channels (e.g., most books). But comics are Diamond's property and someone who undercuts may find their orders shorted, especially on items that are often allocated.

Re:As a big comixology user, this *sucks* (0)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46851863)

I think they've shot themselves in teh foot on this one.

Or maybe Apple demanding a 30% cut is to blame. Would you be willing to pay 30% more to buy through the iOS app?

Re:As a big comixology user, this *sucks* (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 7 months ago | (#46852295)

Are so naive to think your going to pay less elsewhere? Even if it's cheaper right now, they'll bump the price next year.

Of course, I predict apple will simply ban the app since this violates their requirements from my perspective.

Are they allowed to do that? (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | about 7 months ago | (#46851085)

I thought that any bolt-ons for apps had to be sold through the Apple Store so they could collect their 30% cut.

Not that I've paid much attention to Apple stuff in general, but I did get that impression from somewhere.

Re:Are they allowed to do that? (5, Informative)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 7 months ago | (#46851105)

In app purchases pay a 30% fee to Apple to payment processing, etc. Purchases made outside the app (ie: at a developer's website such as amazon.com) do not incur the 30% fee.

It's up to each developer to decide if the 30% fee is worth the ease of use and Apple handling all the payment processing or not. The vast, vast, vast majority of developers happily pay that fee. Amazon is the one high profile developer to buck that trend, first with Kindle and now with Comixology.

Re:Are they allowed to do that? (5, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | about 7 months ago | (#46851263)

It probably makes sense for Amazon to do it though considering they have their own infrastructure for handling payments and their own huge customer base. They don't own the content that's being sold either, so I imagine that Apple's 30% cut eats into potential profits by a large amount.

Re:Are they allowed to do that? (5, Informative)

Dahamma (304068) | about 7 months ago | (#46851643)

I know for video that's pretty much the entire profit margin. Apple basically doesn't want any competition to iTunes so they have priced out TVOD/music competitors completely.

Re:Are they allowed to do that? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 7 months ago | (#46852303)

Really? Then why are there so many available on the AppStore?

Re:Are they allowed to do that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46852547)

Really? Then why are there so many available on the AppStore?

I work with one of Apple's competitors in the media space (not Amazon). Yes, we have an iOS app, but unlike any other platform, you cannot buy content from it. You need to buy from the web interface, or an Android or Windows Mobile device first, then your content will become available in your account for the iOS devices.

Re:Are they allowed to do that? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851561)

"Death knell" "jump through hoops" "vast majority"

You and Kendall are such tools.

Re:Are they allowed to do that? (2)

Dahamma (304068) | about 7 months ago | (#46851639)

Actually, it's not even a matter of Apple handling the payment processing. Even if you handle your own payment, they still want 30% if it's in app.

And you can *say* the "vast, vast majority of developers happily pay that fee", but in fact it's ONLY for their OWN in-app purchased assets, which 99% of the time are completely arbitrary (oh, Apple just took 30% of the fee on your extra life or 1000 quatloos? No way!) Please name any major TVOD or popular music providers who are paying a 30% fee on all purchases. I guarantee you can't, because that's for the most part more than the their profit margin on that content. Hell, even *Walmart* makes less than 30% on physical DVDs/BDs these days. Apple actually has to be careful they don't get too much of the content market with iTunes, or their conflict of interest in being a content seller and a fee-based marketplace could get them into anti-trust trouble...

Re:Are they allowed to do that? (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 7 months ago | (#46851737)

this is the same thing they do for amazon instant streaming. in the app you can watch all of the free streaming and all of the movies you have already rented, but you can't rent any movies. to rent a movie you can only do that from their website. and the app itself doesn't have links to renting on the website. it's a pain in the ass and a big reason to not use amazon instant streaming. I only rent from amazon when something isn't on netflix, hbogo, iTunes, or amazon prime. canistream.it is priceless.

Re: Are they allowed to do that? (1)

ibwolf (126465) | about 7 months ago | (#46852203)

Sounds more like a reason not to buy in to the Apple/iOS ecosystem.

Re:Are they allowed to do that? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 7 months ago | (#46852517)

So, what does "inside the app" mean? If my app includes a link to a web page that opens with Safari, is that okay? What if the web page in question looks exactly like the app's interface? What if it opens in a UIWebView instead?

You can sell externally, can't provide link in-app (5, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 7 months ago | (#46851111)

I thought that any bolt-ons for apps had to be sold through the Apple Store so they could collect their 30% cut.

You can sell things externally to unlock features - for instance there are many applications for websites that require a paid subscription to work.

What you can't do is provide a link in the app that takes you directly to a purchasing page to work wrounf the in-app thing.

Honestly tough, I've always thought it was a pretty fair trade-off to pay 30% to gan access to many millions of people who already have payment details entered and ready to go at the press of a button.

I'm pretty sure Comixology will lose far more in sales than they would gain by not giving away 30%, I've bought a number of things in the app but if I can't I simply will not bother to figure out how I can get them.

I do think it's a precursor to Amazon folding Comixology into the Kindle application, then it would be easier for people to make use of to buy comics as they already do books for the Kindle app. In that case I don't think they will lose many sales (though that's long term and I've not heard they plan to do so yet).

Re:You can sell externally, can't provide link in- (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 7 months ago | (#46851451)

Honestly tough, I've always thought it was a pretty fair trade-off to pay 30% to gan access to many millions of people who already have payment details entered and ready to go at the press of a button.

Depends on your volume. Imagine if apple wanted a 30% cut of your ebay or amazon (regular purchases not e-books) purchases made using ebay/amazon app. I spend a lot on amazon.com, and I would consider that insane. If every middleman wanted a 30% cut, supply chains will completely collapse. Apple should honestly consider having a tired pricing based on volume. Apple is too stubborn to do that (so is google, so they dont have to worry about the competing mobile platforms doing better either), or they would rather have people use iBooks.

I'm pretty sure Comixology will lose far more in sales than they would gain by not giving away 30%

Again depends on their volume and how much amazon pays the content owners.

Re:You can sell externally, can't provide link in- (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 7 months ago | (#46851733)

Imagine if apple wanted a 30% cut of your ebay or amazon (regular purchases not e-books) purchases made using ebay/amazon app.

Have you ever sold anything on eBay? Between eBay and PayPal (pretty much required to sell on eBay) and sometimes shipping fees, you are looking at not that far off 30% gone from the sale price.

If every middleman wanted a 30% cut, supply chains will completely collapse

Plainly they have not.

Again depends on their volume and how much amazon pays the content owners.

It depends on the NEW volume, which inherently will be far lower. Where do you even GO to buy a Comixology comic? I don't know, and I don't care - even though I have about 20 comics I purchased through the app.

Re:You can sell externally, can't provide link in- (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 7 months ago | (#46851801)

Imagine if apple wanted a 30% cut of your ebay or amazon (regular purchases not e-books) purchases made using ebay/amazon app.

I meant additional 30% fee for buying using the ebay app on an ipad/iphone. I do shop and I sell items on ebay often, the paypal fees I pay is 2.9% + 30 cents. eBay final value fee is 10% (more importantly the fee is capped at $250, unlike apple store) and the listing fee is free for first 50 per month (again volume matters). eBay+Paypal fees is much lower compared to Apple, which doesnt happen often.

if eBay where to sell items on their iphone app, they would have to increase their fees by 30%. Making the final value fee as 40% instead of 10%. I for one would not be pleased.

Re:You can sell externally, can't provide link in- (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851557)

Can you add items to a wishlist for purchase later? Or buy credits externally then redeem them in-app?

Re:You can sell externally, can't provide link in- (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 7 months ago | (#46851741)

Can you add items to a wishlist for purchase later? Or buy credits externally then redeem them in-app?

I think you can do both of those things, they just have restrictions on direct purchases that you consume on the spot. Apple is only charging for the convenience factor of a user being able to buy on the spot, so mechanisms that are more delayed or convoluted they don't really care about.

Re:You can sell externally, can't provide link in- (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 7 months ago | (#46851655)

What you can't do is provide a link in the app that takes you directly to a purchasing page to work wrounf the in-app thing. Honestly tough, I've always thought it was a pretty fair trade-off to pay 30% to gan access to many millions of people who already have payment details entered and ready to go at the press of a button.

So basically you're saying it's such a good offer we have to ban them from not taking advantage of it, Stockholm syndrome much? They can go to any website and buy any non-app item they want, the app store doesn't give you access to the market. The app store is the only remaining way to sell apps after all other ways have been taken away from you, it's what keeps the market hostage and enables them to get a 30% shakedown of all transactions. Why do you think there's no such thing in the PC world, here's millions of people ready to one-click shop for only 30% of your gross? Because no sane business would use it if they had a choice.

Re:You can sell externally, can't provide link in- (1)

Raenex (947668) | about 7 months ago | (#46852139)

The app store is the only remaining way to sell apps after all other ways have been taken away from you, it's what keeps the market hostage and enables them to get a 30% shakedown of all transactions. Why do you think there's no such thing in the PC world, here's millions of people ready to one-click shop for only 30% of your gross?

For gaming on the PC, there's Steam. Google searches tell me they take 30% as well.

Because no sane business would use it if they had a choice.

Steam is popular with gamers, so game companies take the hit and publish through Steam. They have a choice, and not every game is on Steam, but many are.

Re:You can sell externally, can't provide link in- (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851967)

Honestly tough, I've always thought it was a pretty fair trade-off to pay 30% to gan access to many millions of people who already have payment details entered and ready to go at the press of a button.

Really? 30% is an insanely large percentage just for that access. Would you think it's reasonable for Mastercard or Visa to charge merchants 30% for access to the "many millions of people" on their books?. Single digit percentages (eg in the realm of merchant credit card fees plus a bit of margin) would seem reasonable to me.

30% might seem reasonable if you wanted Apple to take a significant role in fulfillment (eg with apps/music/video where Apple are serving the content) but if you have your own fulfillment infrastructure (or payment infrastructure) the 30% figure is nuts.

Re:You can sell externally, can't provide link in- (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 7 months ago | (#46852001)

30% to gan access to many millions of people who already have payment details entered and ready to go at the press of a button.

30% of your gross revenue? For transaction management? Whether you need it or not? Are you high?

Visa charges what? Around 3% to gain access to many millions of people who are carrying around a piece of plastic with the Visa emblem painted on it; for transactions under $50 they don't even have to push a button they can just tap the card on your payment terminal. 3% to access millions of customers, so they don't have to carry cash or write you cheques. But you think 30% its a good deal?

30% is a good deal if you sell a few thousand copies of a 1$ app. Its ludicrous money for other business models.

Want to know why, for example, the Steam Mobile app doesn't allow you to buy Windows games for your PC and add them to your steam library right from the mobile app?

30% gross to Apple is why

Its also why you can use MS Office if you have an office 360 subscription, but you cannot actually subscribe via the app. No way microsoft is handing apple 30% gross revenue to run a Visa. It would be ludicrous.

Re:You can sell externally, can't provide link in- (1)

Raenex (947668) | about 7 months ago | (#46852157)

Want to know why, for example, the Steam Mobile app doesn't allow you to buy Windows games for your PC and add them to your steam library right from the mobile app?

30% gross to Apple is why

Look up what percentage Valve charges other game companies to publish on Steam. Valve tries to hide this number, but it's been reported at 30%.

Re:You can sell externally, can't provide link in- (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 7 months ago | (#46852357)

Look up what percentage Valve charges other game companies to publish on Steam. Valve tries to hide this number, but it's been reported at 30%.

Developers wishing to reach the PC, Mac, or Linux game markets do not have to go through Valve. Observe multiple competing app stores, direct sales, physical retail sales, and so forth. If your business model isn't compatible with steam you can reach those customers any number of other ways. There is lots of software not on steam after all.

Magic the Gathering: Online as an example. Evidently Wizards (Hasbro iirc) are happy to run their own patch manager and store. They release some simpler fixed deck titles to steam effectively as tutorials and advertising for the "real thing", but the big cash cow they run entirely themselves. And I can't imagine what advantage they would get by giving up 30% of their revenue to valve and selling the boosters etc there.

The point is Steam is great for most developers in the same way that the apple app store is great for most developers. The store provides a lot of the infrastructure, patch management, community management, and transaction tools along with an opportunity to get exposure to a lot of gamers. This is a pretty good deal overall. I think Arcen games once said around 90% of its revenue is through steam vs 3% from direct sales. Clearly, for them, the 30% paid to steam appears to be money very well spent. And the same goes for Apple's app store.

But in apple's case for example, take Microsoft Office. Microsoft doesn't need the app store to generate demand for its product. If they released office for the ipad they could sell it directly without any trouble at all. They certainly don't need apple to provide them infrastructure, exposure, or process Visa cards. But they couldn't. So for the longest time there was no office for ipad.

Now there finally is Office for iOS... but most of the key functionality is tied to a subscription to office 365. That's the "loophole" with Apple (if your business model can be contorted to work with a subscription service that your customers obtain [primarily] externally to apple).

Re:You can sell externally, can't provide link in- (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 7 months ago | (#46852313)

Says the guy with no retail experience what so ever.

30% is pretty much standard everywhere in retail. Buy office from bestbuy, bestbuy takes ATLEAST 30%. If your smaller, they charge more like requiring you rent the shelf space as well.

Re:You can sell externally, can't provide link in- (1)

Enry (630) | about 7 months ago | (#46852413)

I used to have books on bookstore shelves. The publisher generally sold the book to stores for 50% of list.

Which makes sense - the bookstore has to have the property to sell the books, the staff to sell them, the rest of the infrastructure to get the books from a distributor to them along with all the accounting required, and make a profit on top of all that.

All Apple really needs are some hard drives and an Ethernet cable. I realize it's not that simple and maybe that's why they're taking 30% and not 50%, but there's no requirement that companies use Apple's in-app purchases in this manner.

Re:You can sell externally, can't provide link in- (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 7 months ago | (#46852151)

Honestly tough, I've always thought it was a pretty fair trade-off to pay 30% to gan access to many millions of people who already have payment details entered and ready to go at the press of a button.

Amazon already has half of the planet's payment details already entered and ready to go at the press of the button. Heck, they even claim ownership of the "one click buy" idea.

They could easily do their own in-app purchases without any help from Apple if it weren't for the fact that Apple would ban them from iOS if they did so (and since iOS does not support alternative markets/sideloading/etc that would be it for Amazon).

I have to take Amazon's side on this one, but I'd gladly side against them if somebody were complaining about the fact that Amazon does the exact same thing on the Kindle/etc platforms. Everybody's hands are dirty, but that doesn't change the fact that this practice is very anti-consumer no matter who is doing it.

Re:You can sell externally, can't provide link in- (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46852361)

Amazon already has half of the planet's payment details already entered and ready to go at the press of the button.

Surely you live in the US, which to you must be "the planet." Amazon is irrelevant to most of the world.

30% is such a nice cut (5, Insightful)

postmortem (906676) | about 7 months ago | (#46851159)

If you're mafia, or Apple.

Sad to say it, but Go Amazon. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851221)

Anything that keeps down Apple's extortion, even a bit, is a win in my book. And you can tell that Amazon is doing this _explicitly_ to keep the unearned profits out of Apple's pockets rather than to optimize their own revenue. If all they were concerned about was their bottom line they would offer the in-app purchases at an additional mark-up that covers Apple's 30% and let any customers who value that convenience over the extra cost have at it, while still offering external purchases at current prices. Amazon is by no means a saint either, but a little healthy sibling rivalry and competition can often (though not always) benefit consumers in the long run.

Re:Sad to say it, but Go Amazon. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851265)

You are pathetic.

Re:Sad to say it, but Go Amazon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851669)

What a well reasoned and clearly articulated position.

Re:Sad to say it, but Go Amazon. (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 7 months ago | (#46851361)

To me that's like cheering for Hitler against Staline, or vice versa.
Apple at least is a company that sells only to high income snobs (and some working class people in the Earth's richest countries). Amazon's motto is to take over everything and destroy retail businesses while setting back the workplace by over 100 years.

Re:Sad to say it, but Go Amazon. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851389)

So in other words, exactly how World War 2 actually happened?

Yay us.

Amazon is worse? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851433)

That's a VAST oversimplification with a huge "axe to grind against Amazon" and/or "fanboyism of Apple" slant at best.
Not to mention the whole "setting the workplace back 100 years" is 100% pure BS.
You're forgetting Wal-Mart already existed long before Amazon even made any significant inroads into anything beyond selling physical books online at good prices and with an unmatched selection and good, though impersonal, service.
I happen to LIKE seeing companies like Amazon help keep things in check to some degree.

Face reality, developed countries will never return to the mom & pop corner store days, so if there are at least three or four big companies vying for each market, that's a heck of a lot better than only one or two since neither monopolies nor duopolies tend to work out very well for consumers. I don't want Amazon to rule the world, but I sure as heck don't want Apple or Facebook or Google or Wal-Mart to either. It's good for someone to put Apple in their place from time to time.

Re:Sad to say it, but Go Amazon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46852299)

And you can tell that Amazon is doing this _explicitly_ to keep the unearned profits out of Apple's pockets rather than to optimize their own revenue.

Damn straight. It will take them several minutes to earn elsewhere as much as they would from Comixoligy in-app purchases each year. That'll show 'em!!
Next up, hit all those other price gougers! Google 30%, Amazon 30%, and physical retailers 50%!!

Amazon should withhold purchases through Amazon until Amazon stop extorting 30% of the price. Go Amazon! Get those Amazon creeps!

You mean, such a low cut... (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 7 months ago | (#46851269)

You don't really have any idea how much traditionally publishers have taken from authors, do you? The author has generally been lucky to get something like 10%.

Similarly, lots of things sold in stores are taking more than 30% of wholesale. Usually a LOT more.

Can you really place no value on tens of millions (probably hundreds of millions at this point) of people not having to enter any payment details to buy something from you, requiring only a few button presses to agree to buy? That is a HUGE benefit.

If there's a minimum amount of profit you must make from each sale, the answer is simple - when selling through Apple increase your prices to compensate for Apple's cut. Pass along the costs directly to the customer if you think they are unfair.

Re:You mean, such a low cut... (5, Insightful)

GryMor (88799) | about 7 months ago | (#46851351)

30% wholesale is 23% of retail, apple is taking 30% of retail (42% of wholesale if they were the store), AND THEY AREN'T EVEN THE STORE.

Re:You mean, such a low cut... (1)

HJED (1304957) | about 7 months ago | (#46851469)

In don't know about Comixology, but amazon pays independent ebook publishers 70% on items with a list price between $2 and $10 and 35% the rest of the time.

Re:You mean, such a low cut... (2)

Dahamma (304068) | about 7 months ago | (#46851665)

If there's a minimum amount of profit you must make from each sale, the answer is simple - when selling through Apple increase your prices to compensate for Apple's cut. Pass along the costs directly to the customer if you think they are unfair.

Except, of course, the obvious flaw to that suggestion for most digital content (books, music, movies/tv) is that the content owners are charging the same wholesale cost to Apple as they are to the other providers. Apple gets to keep all of their margin (which for digital content is often in the 30% range) while their competitors either give away the content at cost or become completely uncompetitive vs. iTunes.

Similarly, lots of things sold in stores are taking more than 30% of wholesale. Usually a LOT more.

Actually, physical media is no longer taking "a LOT more" than 30% margin these days, either. You can credit the popularity of digital purchases, Amazon's loss-leaders, or Walmart's low prices, but 30% is actually a pretty decent margin for physical DVDs & BDs now, as well.

Re:You mean, such a low cut... (1)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | about 7 months ago | (#46851731)

Apple isn't the publisher here. Apple isn't even handling the payments. No traffic needs to be handled by them and they *still* want 30%.
For what? It makes no sense. It didn't for books. It doesn't for Office365 and it doesn't for this. Apple just has this crazy idea that if it runs on their "magical" hardware they should get a cut. Fuck that!

Re:You mean, such a low cut... (0)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 7 months ago | (#46852327)

Apple isn't even handling the payments. No traffic needs to be handled by them

Apple handles the payments. The seller gets paid by Apple. As a buyer this is good. Sellers don't get my credit card #, they don't don't get my name, and they don't get my email address. No spam, no fraud, no BS.

Re:30% is such a nice cut (2, Informative)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 7 months ago | (#46851277)

Or Google. https://support.google.com/goo... [google.com]

And virtually everyone else that offers payment processing services

Sorry - you were attempting to imply that Apple was akin to the Mafia because they charge the same rate as everyone else for the same service. As you were.

Re:30% is such a nice cut (5, Informative)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 7 months ago | (#46851341)

And virtually everyone else that offers payment processing services

Only in mobile app walled gardens. PayPal, 2checkout, authorize.net etc only take about 3%.

And Apple SET THE GOING RATE... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851471)

You forgot to mention that the other walled gardens charge so much, almost entirely _because_ Apple did first, and continues to. If others charged less, shareholders would want their heads, for leaving so much money on the table. If moves like this eventually cause the app stores to reconsider and drop their ridiculously high rates, that's a big win for consumers AND for developers and content creators. I'm all for it. If it doesn't change anything then Apple still takes less of our money even if Amazon takes about the same amount, so it's still at least a small win.

Re:And Apple SET THE GOING RATE... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 7 months ago | (#46851591)

You forgot to mention that the other walled gardens charge so much, almost entirely _because_ Apple did first, and continues to. If others charged less, shareholders would want their heads, for leaving so much money on the table. If moves like this eventually cause the app stores to reconsider and drop their ridiculously high rates, that's a big win for consumers AND for developers and content creators. I'm all for it. If it doesn't change anything then Apple still takes less of our money even if Amazon takes about the same amount, so it's still at least a small win.

Actually, you fail to notice that many other instances that the cut is much more than 30%.

Take a look and see what's on sale on Amazon. Ever notice stuff that's 30% or more off? Think Amazon's being a pal and taking a loss? Hell no! Amazon's cut of that item is much MORE than 30% so they can give you the 30% discount, throw in shipping AND make a profit.

Apple merely set the rate such that the average selling price of $1 means Apple breaks even on a sale. You know, after Visa/Mastercard/etc take their 30 cents plus 2-3%. (You can easily find iTunes gift cards for 20%+ off - and it still gives the retailer a profit and covers printing costs.). Funny enough, Google Play gift cards hardly ever go on sale, neither do Steam ones.

Hell, you can bet even Steam takes at least 30%, if not way more. Most likely, it was way more until Apple came around with 30%.

In fact, given what Apple does for the developer, from payment handling, refund handling, taxes, hosting, etc., 30% can be considered cheap. For some companies, they pay resellers more than 30% for each sale, so they often prefer to sell direct (Autodesk will prefer to use the stores than its reseller network as it makes more money. They'd put it all up, but the $1000 limit of most stores often prevents it). Yeah, the developer can handle it themselves, but it's just another headache of running a store which is less time to do actual development.

Re:And Apple SET THE GOING RATE... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about 7 months ago | (#46851673)

In fact, given what Apple does for the developer, from payment handling, refund handling, taxes, hosting, etc., 30% can be considered cheap.

Bullshit. Any company that sells content outside of Apple's walled garden has to have that entire infrastructure anyway. If we were talking purchasing the app itself, fine, but that's not what anyone has been talking about here. For in-app purchases of digital media Apple provides no value beyond the convenience of their device but still wants to take 30%, which is usually pretty close to the margin on the content itself (the same content that Apple is often selling!)

Re:30% is such a nice cut (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about 7 months ago | (#46851767)

And virtually everyone else that offers payment processing services

Only in mobile app walled gardens. PayPal, 2checkout, authorize.net etc only take about 3%.

Bandwidth is cheap, so it's not a total excuse, but PayPal doesn't actually fulfill the entire transaction, just the payment. Apple hosts IAP content.

Re:30% is such a nice cut (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about 7 months ago | (#46851759)

If you're mafia, or Apple.

Or Amazon in this case.

What, you think they're passing 100% of the profits to the comic book publisher? Hah!

I'd bet they're going to take the 30% that Apple used to take, and stuff it right back in their own pockets, right along with any other existing fees.

Erh... wouldn't it be smarter.... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 months ago | (#46851259)

To just let people buy it in store but make it 10% cheaper if bought directly on Amazon? People would instantly feel very smart if they jumped the hoops because it's CHEAPER and they're SAVING.

Re:Erh... wouldn't it be smarter.... (4, Informative)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 7 months ago | (#46851297)

Not allowed. If an in app purchase is offered and the same purchase is available on an external source, the price of the in app purchase cannot be higher.

Expect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851397)

If a Comic BOOK is indeed a BOOK it falls under the terms of the DOJ vs. Apple ruling which forbids MFN treatment of books.

Re:Expect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851461)

I believe it forbids them from entering into such deals with publishers, but it would not prevent them from rejecting or removing an app for such behaviour.

Pretty sure you can get around it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851495)

Just sell points or coins or tokens or credits, which don't necessarily have a direct or static relationship to cash prices.
Set the price in the Apple walled garden to cash, with a markup to pay for Apple's highway robbery, and set the external price to something roughly equivalent in "coins" to 30% less.
Alternately, make a "special web-edition" of the content, and it's no longer the same item and not subject to Apple's crap. Throw in a wallpaper or something or offer slightly enhanced resolution, or something if necessary.
The possibilities are endless.

Re:Erh... wouldn't it be smarter.... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46851881)

Maybe they should start releasing "iOS edition" comics. Maybe throw the word "retina" in there too, just to make out there is some resolution difference.

Re:Erh... wouldn't it be smarter.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851301)

That's the one thing you [b]can't[/b] do. Apple require that if you make something available through they're store, it's always the cheapest price that you can get it for.

Re:Erh... wouldn't it be smarter.... (1)

HJED (1304957) | about 7 months ago | (#46851473)

ironically Amazon does the same.

Re:Erh... wouldn't it be smarter.... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 months ago | (#46852215)

Ok, then just inform people "We're not buying into this extortion racket, Apple wanted to force us to up our prices by 30% but we don't want to play along, we want to continue delivering high quality at our low, low prices to you. We're sorry for this inconvenience, but we hope you can agree that hopping over to our store is less annoying to you than paying a third extra for NOTHING".

Adults & Comics (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851291)

"... simply aren't worth it for a comic that takes five minutes to read."

A good summary of comic books in general.

Good. Fuck Apple. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851355)

Just because I'm using your device doesn't mean anyone owes you fucking money. Imagine if our non-mobile devices had to work that way.

Re:Good. Fuck Apple. (1)

a0me (1422855) | about 7 months ago | (#46851555)

That's how the whole retailing and distribution business has been working for centuries. The device and IAPs are the only reason I started spending money on ComiXology and a number of other services.

Re:Good. Fuck Apple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851869)

and that is how the world goes to shit hope you like the future "B&L" (WALLEE film reference for the dim) world monopoly.
lazy fucks like you!!!

Make a good mobile site (1)

Chuckstar (799005) | about 7 months ago | (#46851381)

Just make the mobile web site work well, and it's hardly jumping through hoops. Someone mentioned how easy it used to be to buy the next issue in-app. Just make is so when you go on the web site, the next issue is right there waiting for you to buy it (the app can report back which issues you've finished). It would add all of 15 seconds to the purchase process.

I understand there's still a hoop there, but they don't have to be holding it very far off the ground, and it's certainly not on fire. They could easily make it a little hop, not a huge jump.

Re:Make a good mobile site (1)

HJED (1304957) | about 7 months ago | (#46851479)

Considering that's what Amazon does with their kindle app (if you read a series the next book will usually be in the recommendations section on the Amazon home page), it wouldn't surprise me if they did that.

Re:Make a good mobile site (1)

Chuckstar (799005) | about 7 months ago | (#46851729)

Agreed. I wasn't trying to imply that making a mobile site work that way was hard. Frankly, was trying to imply it was relatively straightforward. It's always possible a big company borks something easy, but I fully expect that the need to switch to the web to purchase a comic book will be only very marginally less convenient than in the app. (I admit that in the app would always be the more elegant system, but it really doesn't have to be a big deal if Amazon is smart about it.)

Re:Make a good mobile site (1)

a0me (1422855) | about 7 months ago | (#46851549)

The mobile site requires your credit card info, the App Store and IAPs don't. I've spent hundreds of dollars at ComiXology so far, and they won't see another dollar from me.

Re:Make a good mobile site (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 7 months ago | (#46851583)

or just, an amazon account...

Re:Make a good mobile site (1)

Chuckstar (799005) | about 7 months ago | (#46851721)

Not really sure why giving your credit card info to Amazon is any different than giving it to Apple.

Re:Make a good mobile site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851875)

you obviously love to be rogered by apple with a 10foot barge pole.

not just a fanboy, a fanwhore.

Gaga is Hiway Robbery (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851387)

Makes perfect sense to me. Good for Amazon for making MY purchase work for my benefit, not some US.Calif. company. MC/V is bad enough at 3 pct. Apple costing me 30% is highway robbery.

One question for the users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851567)

I'm not a user so I don't know, but if you're are my question is will it be easier to pirate it now over legitimate options?

Re:One question for the users (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about 7 months ago | (#46851577)

I don't see how. It's always been possible to buy and view comics via the Comixology website. All they've done is remove the ability to buy via the app.

Re: One question for the users (1)

Jakeula (1427201) | about 7 months ago | (#46851987)

Not really. Plus a huge benefit of the app is their reader. It's amazing even on small devices. It's far better than any comic reader I have seen on either platform, but it doesn't import downloaded comics, and even if it did it wouldn't work with the pirated copies the same way. While the in app purchases are nice, the reading experience is a huge draw for me.

It doesn't really make much difference... (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about 7 months ago | (#46851573)

In-App purchases for Comixology haven't worked properly for me for ages, so I've always tended to buy via the website anyway.

What I'd really like them to do is automatically download subscriptions when my iPad is plugged in and on WiFi. And also keep downloading when the screen turns itself off, under the same conditions.

2 click patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851613)

Amazon already has the infamous 1 click patent. With this change in how to buy comics, by using a wish list in the app and buying in a web page, will Amazon apply for a "2 click" patent? I think it is pretty cleaver in how Amazon is bypassing Apple's 30% take.

Only Republicans... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851687)

like those dumbass cartoon books. Well, that is after the age of ten. Democrats give-up on that garbage by the time they're ten. It is the Republican assholes that keep trying to shove that cartoon book crap down our throats. It gets them off sexually to push such garbage on the public. Just look at how their kind loved the new Thor movie. My boss actually jacked-off in our breakroom the day that the sequel was announced. That is their way. They are sick people.

So long, ComiXology (1)

a0me (1422855) | about 7 months ago | (#46851719)

For all current customers on iOS, here's the fix: 1: Install the new ComiXology app. 2: Leave a one star review in the App Store. 3: Launch the app, go to Purchases and hit Restore in the purchases tab to sync Apple purchases with the web 3: Log into comixology website to use the $5 voucher they gave you. 4: Download Marvel https://itunes.apple.com/en/ap... [apple.com] , Image https://itunes.apple.com/jp/ap... [apple.com] and DC https://itunes.apple.com/en/ap... [apple.com] apps. Check purchases have synced to those. 6: Delete both ComiXology apps and Use Image / Marvel / DC instead.

Re:So long, ComiXology (1)

blackfeltfedora (2855471) | about 7 months ago | (#46852221)

That is a lot of work to get back at Amazon for not paying Apple's extortion money.

Re:So long, ComiXology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46852239)

You must be a perfect Apple zealot. Sad little boy.

Shit, I've never heard of this and I just sub'd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46851749)

Holy Shit, never heard of this service before.

Who cares - I've just subscribed to all my favourite comics, this is fantastic.

A plague on both their houses (1)

Required Snark (1702878) | about 7 months ago | (#46851895)

There's a vastly depressing humor in all of this: both sides are monopolistic scum, so the least you can do is enjoy watching the evil twins fight amongst themselves. It's a really grim joke.

The 30% "tax" that Apple charges at the App Store is immune to market forces. It makes no difference what sells or how much, Apple gets a phenomenal markup. It's all reward, no risk. When this happens at a large scale it means that capitalism is dead, and all the remains is monopoly.

And before the ideological right zombies start chanting "free market" in unison, remember that there is a duopoly: Android and IOS. Now that Blackberry is toast (pun intended), there is only a choice between a closed overly priced ecosystem and an anarchistic platform that is known to be insecure. I don't have the reference at hand, but someone at Google recently stated that security is not guaranteed for Android. Google washes their hands, and the phone providers (another tribe of monopolists) see no need to put any money into customer protection. The big cellular providers want it to be a felony to jailbreak your smartphone. They literally want to threaten users in jail for doing their own patches, so good luck on fixing that security breach on your own. Capitalism at it's best. A real "free market".

Amazon is also a real piece of work. Their business model is all about not paying any tax to anybody anywhere anytime. See post that proceeds this about them owing the French government $1 Billion.

The inequality between the taxation of brick and mortar stores and Amazon gives them a huge competitive advantage. The playing field is a level as a cliff. Amazon is at the top, their competitors are at the bottom and Amazon getd rocks for free to drop off the cliff.

Amazon also has the publishers in a headlock. They dictate how much the publishers can charge before the Amazon markup. They also demand, and get, exclusivity on Kindle over other platforms.

Both Amazon and Apple engage in the kind of "free market capitalism" that made the Soprano's famous: pay us or you won't be around very much longer. They have the same relationship with the market that a pig farmer has to his pigs. The pigs have very little say in the matter.

Re:A plague on both their houses (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 7 months ago | (#46852321)

Both Amazon and Apple engage in the kind of "free market capitalism" that made the Soprano's famous: pay us or you won't be around very much longer. They have the same relationship with the market that a pig farmer has to his pigs. The pigs have very little say in the matter.

Actually, I think the overall idea is more akin to renting a booth at a bazaar or flea market. The fact they are charging you to use their infrastructure doesn't seem all that bad. The 30% seems over the top to me and the extra rules they have in place to try to force you to use their infrastructure is the part that looks like racketeering.

The question to ask is: do most developers deal with these factors because it's worth 30%, or do they deal with it because they don't have another option? If it's the latter, then it's not capitalism that we're seeing here. Amazon appears to be trying to prove that there is another way.

Depends (1)

drolli (522659) | about 7 months ago | (#46852105)

I could imagine that a flat-fee per month could serve them and theirs customers well.

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