Store was last to get gifting options, works with desktop version too
The last Apple digital storefront has now added a "gift" option, just in time for the holidays. On Tuesday, Apple activated gifting to the iBookstore, allowing customers to buy and send e-books either immediately or on a specific date. The company had previously enabled the option for apps, movies, TV shows and music back in 2010. The option is available on all e-books, and iTunes Store credit can be used to purchase the gift.
Hints at prep for launch of OS X Mavericks
People using the latest version of OS X Mountain Lion are beginning to see an "Open in iBooks" buttons on iBookstore pages within iTunes, users say. The button appears if a person has a title in their iBooks library, but is currently non-functional, since the first Mac version of iBooks is only due to launch alongside OS X Mavericks. That may suggest, however, that Apple is making final preparations for Mavericks' release.
FaceTime, iTunes Match, other iCloud features briefly affected
Several of Apple's online services were briefly impacted by outages earlier today, according to Apple's System Status page. The worst affected the iTunes Store, the iBookstore, and the Mac and iOS App Stores between 1:28 and 2:57PM Eastern time, preventing some people from making any purchases. During the same time period, people may have been unable to use iTunes in the Cloud or iTunes Match, or restore purchases from an iCloud backup.
Versioning, new tutorials, catalog reports, higher pixels limit, more
Apple on Thursday sent out an email to authors and publishers that announced a number of new features geared toward content producers in the iBookstore. Among the changes is support for versioning, allowing readers to be automatically notified when a book they've purchased has been updated with a new version. Also included in the updates are new catalog reports, updated documentation, a rise in the pixel limit for book images and more.
Publishers expected to pay out over $162 million
Two of the five publishers accused of conspiring with Apple to inflate e-book prices, Macmillan and Penguin, have started issuing emails to e-book customers, informing them of rights, responsibilities, and proposed terms in the legal settlement the companies negotiated. Under current terms, the publishers would distribute approximately $162.25 million to customers who bought e-books at any digital outlet between the iBookstore's launch on April 1st, 2010 and May 21st, 2012.
Uses evidence from talks between Jobs, Schiller, Cue
The US Department of Justice has filed a revised settlement proposal for the outcome of its recent trial victory against Apple. The proposal is similar to the original, but incorporates an expanded section on in-app purchases, claiming that Apple formulated its rules to "retaliate against Amazon for competitive conduct that Apple disapproved of" and "make it more difficult for consumers using Apple devices to compare ebook prices among different retailers."
Narrowed down to two affiliate networks, but with larger
Apple is making significant changes to its affiliate program for content on iTunes, the iBookstore, and the Mac and iOS App Stores, according to an announcement. The program gives participants a small commission for sales made via specially-formatted links. The main change is the elimination of LinkShare and dgm as affiliate networks, leaving just Tradedoubler and a new addition, Performance Horizon Group.
Would've given Apple time to appeal DoJ penalties
Judge Denise Cote has denied an Apple request to temporarily stay her ruling stemming from a trial over e-book price fixing, the Associated Press reports. Had the stay gone through, it would've given Apple time to appeal settlement terms proposed by the US Department of Justice. In July, Cote found that Apple had conspired with five major book publishers -- Hachette, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster -- to artificially inflate e-book prices and undermine Amazon, which in 2009 was selling Kindle titles at a standard price of just $10.
Sign of companies operating too closely in unison, DoJ suggests
The US Department of Justice has filed a response to the book publishing industry's defense of Apple in light of possible settlement terms that could impose strict restrictions on Apple, and which the publishers suggest might alter the terms of their own settlements over allegations of fixing e-book prices. DoJ attorney Lawrence Buterman contends that the unified defense shows that the publishers have "banded together once again," as they did when conspiring to inflate prices and undermine Amazon. The publishers' motion "only highlights why it is necessary to ensure that Apple (and hopefully other retailers) can discount ebooks and compete on retail price for as long as possible," the filing reads.
Hearing on penalties to be assessed on August 9
Five of the publishers originally involved in the e-book price fixing case with Apple have filed a motion in Judge Denise Cote's court, opposing the proposed penalties that the Department of Justice wants asserted against Apple. The five publishers claim that the Department of Justice's demand will "improperly impose additional, unwarranted restrictions on the settling defendants, thereby depriving each publisher of the benefit of its bargain with plaintiffs." The penalty proposal by the Department of Justice and all filed motions will be heard on Friday, August 9.
Downtime affects major services
Several Apple online services encountered outages earlier today, according to the company's system status page. Between 11:23AM and 1:54PM Eastern, people may have been "unable to make purchases from the App Store, iTunes Store, Mac App Store, or iBookstore," the page states. "Users may also have been unable to download previously-purchased content, use iTunes Match, or successfully restore Apps and Music from an iCloud backup."
Claims terms would 'establish a vague new compliance regime'
Apple has lashed out at the Department of Justice's proposed terms for settling the case the latter brought over e-book price fixing. In court documents, Apple calls the terms a "draconian and punitive intrusion" into its business, with penalties "wildly out of proportion to any adjudicated wrongdoing or potential harm."
Would undo one of the stricter App Store rules
The Department of Justice has published proposed settlement terms that could force Apple to allow apps to link to outside e-book stores. Last month, the DoJ emerged victorious against Apple in a trial over e-book price fixing. Apple was accused of conspiring with publishers to artificially inflate e-book prices, in particular with the aim of undermining Amazon's once-standard $10 pricetag for Kindle titles. Modern, high-profile e-books are usually priced closer to $13 or $14.
Commitments 'are now legally binding'
The European Commission has accepted a proposal from British publisher Penguin -- and German media conglomerate Bertelsmann -- to toss e-book deals it signed with Apple that are in violation of European competition regulations, according to a press release. "After our decision of December 2012, the commitments are now legally binding on Apple and all five publishers including Penguin, restoring a competitive environment in the market for e-books," states the EC's Competition commissioner, Joaquín Almunia.
Planned grounds for appeal yet to be disclosed
Apple will appeal today's judgment against it in a trial over e-book price fixing, says spokesman Tom Neumayr. "Apple did not conspire to fix e-book pricing and we will continue to fight against these false accusations," he adds. "We've done nothing wrong."
Decision could impact Amazon, iBookstore, future of e-book prices
Apple indeed violated antitrust laws, conspiring with publishers to fix the prices of e-books, US District Judge Denise Cote has ruled in a Manhattan court. The company is said to have colluded with Hachette, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster in order to undermine Amazon, which until the launch of Apple's iBookstore was able to sell e-books for a standard $10. Cote notes that the publishers' switch to an agency model, prompted by talks with Apple, forced a number of e-books to climb in price to $13 or $15.
Follow brief outage for iCloud affecting 1.5 percent of customers
For about an hour and 20 minutes earlier today, some 20 percent of users trying to access the iTunes Store and associated services such as the App Store and iBookstore were blocked from doing so due to a service outage, Apple reports. According to its Services Status page, the problem began at 7:25PT and lasted until 8:45PT this evening. Earlier in the day, a small (1.5) percentage of users were hit with a brief iCloud outage that lasted about 45 minutes in the late afternoon, Pacific Time.
Testimony from Cue, Barnes & Noble exec change tone of trial
After having begun the case against Apple brought by the Department of Justice with a set of blistering opinions that essentially concluded the iPhone maker was guilty of the e-book price-fixing charge against it, Judge Denise Cote has been seen to change her position considerably over the course of the trial. On Thursday, as part of the winding down of the witness portion of the trial, she noted that she had "learned a lot" from the evidence after having felt "very prepared" ahead of the trial, and that the "issues have shifted" since the trial began.
Was concerned about how self-publishing, aggregators would be handled
According to a an email exchange between then-CEO Steve Jobs and Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue submitted in court earlier today as part of the Department of Justice's e-book price-fixing trial, Apple's co-founder and then-leader read Mac rumor-and-news sites such as AppleInsider and would question the veracity of items found there. In the exchange, which happened just three months after Apple had launched the iBookstore, Jobs wants to know more about self-publishing options.
Little new during executive's final court date
Under questioning at the ongoing DoJ v. Apple antitrust trial, the man who negotiated Apple's iBookstore deals with publishers -- Eddy Cue -- today disclosed some minor facts about Steve Jobs' involvement with the iBooks app. The topic came up during examination by Apple attorney Orin Snyder. Earlier in the trial, Cue established that Jobs was heavily into the concept of iBooks and the iBookstore once iPad development started ramping up. During today's testimony, Cue revealed that Jobs had micromanaged some of the smallest details of iBooks.
Witnesses to include current iTunes, iBookstore heads
The Department of Justice's antitrust case against Apple is entering its final four days this week, according to Fortune. The original orchestrator of Apple's publisher deals for the iBookstore, Eddy Cue, is resuming court testimony today, having last testified on Thursday afternoon. Today's topics are expected to include a dinner Cue had with Macmillan's CEO, and disputed emails written to Cue by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
DOJ claims Cue, Jobs discussed deal with Amazon to stay out
In further testimony on the last day this week of the Department of Justice e-book price-fixing trial, Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue told the judge that Steve Jobs had been initially opposed to the idea that became the iBookstore -- not believing that the tablet would be an ideal device for reading compared to dedicated e-readers such as the Kindle. Cue said he was responsible for persuading Jobs by telling him of the benefits of e-books on the iPad, which won Jobs over.
Blames publishers' resentment towards Amazon prices
Apple's senior VP for Internet software and services, Eddy Cue, testified today in defense of the company at the Department of Justice's ongoing antitrust trial over e-book prices. Cue was responsible for negotiating publisher deals to help launch the iBookstore in 2010. Apple is accused, however, of colluding with publishers to switch the e-book industry to an agency model, specifically with the aim of forcing prices higher and undermining Amazon's then-standard $10 pricetag.
Doubling of business keeps Apple at 20 percent of e-book marketshare
Such is the explosive growth of the e-book market that Apple, as revealed during the ongoing price-fixing trial brought by the US Department of Justice, grew its iBooks business by 100 percent in 2012 alone, and yet that was only enough for it to maintain its place at 20 percent share of the overall market -- suggesting that Amazon also saw a doubling of its e-book business that year as well. Apple has maintained that 20 percent share more or less since it entered the market in 2010.
Suggests Apple was aiming at forcing Amazon to accept higher prices
As a result of an email written by former CEO Steve Jobs, Apple may have suffered a significant blow at the e-book antitrust trial being pursued by the Department of Justice. Fortune reports that the head of Apple's iBookstore, Keith Moerer, testified yesterday that Apple had never asked or pressured any book publisher into changing contracts with Amazon from a wholesale model to Apple's preferred agency model, in which publishers can dictate higher prices. Apple was "indifferent" to what model publishers used with Amazon, Moerer claimed.
Collusion claims cast into doubt
The Department of Justice suffered an early blow in its antitrust case against Apple yesterday, reports say. Testifying in court was Google's director of strategic partnerships, Thomas Turvey. In previous written testimony, Turvey had claimed that representatives from book publishers told him in 2010 that they were switching to an agency model because Apple required it in its iBookstore contracts. Under cross-examination by Apple lawyer Orin Snyder however, it emerged that the written testimony was drafted with the help of Turvey's lawyers, and he was unsure who wrote the central allegations.
Claims government trying to 'reverse engineer a conspiracy'
The Department of Justice's antitrust case against Apple over e-book pricing is "bizarre," said Apple lawyer Orin Snyder yesterday during the case's opening arguments. Snyder went on to call the allegations "sinister interference" based on nebulous evidence, and complain about pre-trial comments by Judge Denise Cote inferring that the DoJ was likely to win.
Verdict could help reshape e-book industry
Apple is today headed to trial to defend itself in the antitrust case brought against it by the US Justice Department over e-book pricing, Bloomberg notes. The company is accused of conspiring with major publishers -- Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Pearson, and HarperCollins -- to artificially inflate the prices of e-books over the $10 threshold that was once standard at Amazon. The publishers were also involved in the case at one point, but each decided to settle before matters went to trial.
Indicates Apple was pushing for prices higher than Amazon
US Department of Justice filings in the e-book price-fixing case against Apple reveal an exchange between former Apple CEO Steve Jobs and News Corporation/HarperCollins' James Murdoch, notes AllThingsD. In the course of a Jobs-penned email, which dates back to January 2010, the CEO explains why Apple is proposing to tie e-book prices to hardcover ones. "We simply don’t think the e-book market can be successful with pricing higher than $12.99 or $14.99," Jobs writes.
Marks end to European investigation
In order to end an antitrust investigation by the European Commission, Pearson-owned book publisher Penguin has offered to drop e-book deals with Apple that inflated prices for Amazon and other vendors, Reuters reports. Penguin is the fifth publisher to settle, joining Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Macmillian, which along with Apple reached a settlement with the Commission in December.
Buyout offer nixed Goodreads integration into iBookstore
Amazon's buyout of Goodreads in late March also had the effect of derailing Apple plans for the iBookstore, say Wall Street Journal sources. During the past year, Apple and Goodreads reportedly discussed integrating Goodreads content into the iBookstore, namely in the form of displaying user reviews and ratings. The scheme would've echoed the way Rotten Tomatoes ratings are presented alongside movies on iTunes.
Pushes localization for App Store, iBookstore titles
Apple has sent out a memo to developers this week, urging them to localize Mac and iOS apps as well as titles on the iBookstore, notes AppleInsider. The message is being delivered through iTunes Connect, and points out that both the iOS and Mac App Stores are accessible in 155 countries and 40 languages. "In addition, the App Store editorial team is always looking for great apps that are localized," Apple writes.
Apple CEO asked to provide four hours of information
CEO Tim Cook has been ordered to testify in the Department of Justice's antitrust case against Apple, Reuters reports. US District Judge Denise Cote has asked Cook to provide four hours of testimony, fulfilling requests by prosecutors, who have argued that the executive likely has relevant knowledge of Apple's 2010 entry into e-books with the iBookstore. Apple opposed involving Cook, claiming that the deposition of 11 other executives made the CEO's participation "cumulative and duplicative." Cote, though, has taken the position that the passing of Steve Jobs -- in charge of Apple at the time the iBookstore was introduced -- means the DoJ is "entitled to take testimony from high-level executives."
Some Twitter users complain
Apple's official iBookstore Twitter account accidentally retweeted and favorited a potentially offensive post on Sunday night, says 9to5Mac. "Let me suck a ____ and tell you how much I love introspective novels," the original message read. Although the post quickly disappeared from the iBookstore feed, it was up long enough for some people to complain and/or unfollow.
Includes manga, other paid content
Apple has released iBooks 3.1 for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. While a minor update in most countries, v3.1 is the first to bring the full iBookstore to Japan. Previously, only public domain books were available in the country; now though the store has a variety of paid titles, including manga comics.
Macmillan reaches settlement with government
The US Department of Justice has settled with publisher Macmillan in a long-running e-book price-fixing lawsuit, says AllThingsD. "Under the proposed settlement agreement, Macmillan will immediately lift restrictions it has imposed on discounting and other promotions by e-book retailers and will be prohibited until December 2014 from entering into new agreements with similar restrictions," a DoJ statement reads. "The proposed settlement agreement also will impose a strong antitrust compliance program on Macmillan, including requirements that it provide advance notification to the department of any e-book ventures it plans to undertake jointly with other publishers and regularly report to the department on any communications it has with other publishers. Also for five years, Macmillan will be forbidden from agreeing to any kind of most favored nation (MFN) provision that could undermine the effectiveness of the settlement."
Talks still ongoing with major Japanese publishers
Apple should finally launch paid titles at the Japanese iBookstore sometime this year, according to sources for AllThingsD. The company is reportedly negotiating with several Japanese publishers, such as Kodansha, Shogakukan, and Kadokawa. Talks are said to be making progress, and agreements may be completed soon. Allegedly, though, a launch won't happen as fast as the Nikkei has suggested, which is later this month.
Other categories cover podcasts, TV shows
Apple has unveiled its annual Best Of list for 2012, which promotes content the company is selling through the iTunes Store, the App Store, and the iBookstore. The Best Album, for instance, is Shields by Grizzly Bear; Best Director is claimed by Wes Anderson for Moonrise Kingdom. Taking Best Show is Breaking Bad.
Regulators accept offer from Apple, four publishers
European Commission regulators have accepted a concession offer from Apple and four major book publishers and halted an antitrust investigation into e-book pricing, Reuters reports. "The commitments proposed by Apple and the four publishers will restore normal competitive conditions in this new and fast-moving market, to the benefit of the buyers and readers of e-books," claims EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia. The publishers include Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Macmillan.
News reading app Flipboard has added a new Books category, integrated with Apple's iBookstore. The feature includes 25 sections of the most popular books at the iBookstore, letting users browse titles there without switching apps. If a person decides to buy a book, the title is fetched from the iBookstore and read in the iBooks app.
Back issues added over time; 70 titles added today
Publisher DC comics announced that it is expanding digital offerings beyond just its own application. Effective immediately, the Apple iBookstore, Kindle Store, and Nook Book Store will all offer the same weekly issues that only the Comixology and DC Comics applications previously carried.
Deal would have Amazon going back to original ebook prices
Regulators with the European Union are prepared to accept a proposal by Apple and four publishers to end an antitrust investigation into ebook pricing, Reuters sources say. Under the terms of the arrangement, Apple and the publishers would let retailers set their own prices and discounts for at least two years. The deal would also suspend "most-favored nation" contracts for at least five years; in this case, for instance, it would block contracts stopping retailers from selling books more cheaply than Apple.
Central American countries added, Portuguese language support
Late on Monday and ahead of its media event tomorrow that is said to include updates to iBooks and possibly iBooks Author, Apple has opened the iBookstore in a slew of new countries, almost entirely in Central and South America (along with New Zealand). The media event, expected to introduce the "iPad mini" and perhaps other new products, has been rumored to include an update to the company's educational efforts and may indicate that the smaller iPad is being positioned for schools, education and e-reading.
Pressure from German bookseller association blamed
Apple is now preventing shoppers at the German iBookstore from using discount iTunes cards to buy books, according to a local report. The ban is said to be a result of pressure from a German bookseller's association, which sent a cease-and-desist letter to Apple last week. German law mandates that a book be offered at the same price throughout the country, something an iTunes discount in theory circumvents, if likely unintentionally. A national supermarket chain, REWE, is informing customers that iTunes cards can't be used to shop at the iBookstore.
Metadata standard allegedly changed three times in a short period
Publishing Perspective reports that Apple is pushing Spanish and other Latin America publishers to get ready for the launch of the iBookstore, but may be making it difficult for booksellers to comply. According to unnamed sources, Spanish-language e-book distributor Libranda is requesting Spanish publishers to update metadata by August 30 to conform to Apple's stringent, and possibly variable, standards ahead of the rollout.
Claims agency pricing a boon to industry
Bookseller Barnes & Noble has sent a complaint to the US Department of Justice regarding a proposed settlement in the latter's case against e-book price fixing, says paidContent. The DOJ has proposed a settlement with publishers HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster, who were all accused of colluding to keep e-book prices artificially high by moving to an agency model. In its complaint, B&N claims that the settlement "represents an unprecedented effort" by the DOJ to become "a regulator of a nascent technology that it little understands," and that e-book and hardcover prices have actually fallen under the agency system.
iTunes, App Store, iBook Store getting iOS 6 redesigns
Apple's iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore are in for a makeover, unconfirmed reports suggest. With the rollout of iOS 6, Apple's three digital storefronts will reportedly receive an overhaul aimed at improving interactivity when customers make purchases. While all three have received minor usability tweaks in the past, the new overhaul is said to be more extensive, and have a considerable focus on social sharing.
Bissinger hurt by Apple, Amazon no-lower-price war
The insistence on having no lower prices at e-book stores has had a conspicuous if brief casualty, according to an account. Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger shared with the New York Times that he had had his sequel book, After Friday Night Lights, pulled by Amazon after it was chosen by Starbucks as a Pick of the Week and given away through Apple's iBookstore for free through redemption codes. Amazon's automatic price check forced the Kindle price to zero, leaving online publisher Byliner.com no choice but to pull the book if it didn't want Bissinger to lose money and jeopardize the Starbucks deal.
iBookstore may be forced to change in Canada too
The US lawsuit over e-book pricing was quietly preceded by civil lawsuits in Canada. An interview with Quebec attorney Normand Painchaud confirmed to the Montreal Gazette that he had asked for class action status on a lawsuit against Apple and the same five major publishers targeted by the US government. Other lawsuits have been filed in the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario.
Apple eager to determine case in court
Apple on Wednesday stated that its confronting a Department of Justice lawsuit over e-book pricing was deliberate. Attorney Daniel Floyd told Judge Denise Cote that Apple believed the lawsuit was "not an appropriate case" and wanted to prove itself in court. The company wanted this to be "decided on the merits," Reuters heard while observing Floyd at a hearing.