Apple blocking eBooks that link to Amazon?

iBooks Bookshelf on iPad

Seth Godin is reporting that Apple is rejecting eBooks submitted to the iBookstore that contain a link to Amazon. Godin experienced the blockage first-hand, after Apple rejected his eBook for containing “multiple links to Amazon store.”

The links to Amazon were found in the bibliography of his new book Stop Selling Dreams, where Godin linked to Amazon using its affiliate program, so readers could locate books he has published. These types of practices could lead to a closed eBook market…

I just found out that Apple is rejecting my new manifesto Stop Stealing Dreams and won’t carry it in their store because inside the manifesto are links to buy the books I mention in the bibliography.

Quoting here from their note to me, rejecting the book: “Multiple links to Amazon store. IE page 35, David Weinberger link.”

If other eBook stores like Barnes and Noble and Amazon used Apple’s practices, it could lead to a closed marketplace, where any store could reject a book for any reason. In my opinion, a book marketplace works best when it’s open.

It’s not clear what Apple’s exact rules on linking are, and if this was just a one time deal. This certainly could have been a one time deal, because Godin was using links from Amazon’s Affiliate Program. This could have been the reason behind rejecting the eBook, or outbound links is just one of the ways Apple chooses to keep things locked down — in typical fashion.

I agree with Godin, “If it’s legal, they ought to let people read it if they choose to.”

Do you think Apple has the right to block an eBook for linking to another eBook store?