Friday, June 12, 2015

Apple iBooks Scam: Why Are Classic Novels Cheap On iTunes But Not On Amazon?

Update 06/27/15: The answer is that these cheap editions of classic novels are often pulled from the Apple iBooks store. Either by Apple or the publisher over copyright, I'm not sure. But when they are pulled off the store, you are no longer able to read those books that you purchased from Apple.
The only way you could maintain access to the books is if you download them to your computer. How would a person do that, I asked Apple support. You would need a Mac, was the answer. I don't have a Mac, I didn't have one when I bought the books in question, and I have no plans to buy one.

So if you're like me and you bought any cheap editions of classic books, eventually you lose not only the ability to read the books but whatever you paid for them. No refunds from Apple, I'm told. It's in their terms of service (as if that's an acceptable practice!).

I'm sticking with Amazon to buy my books in the future. I have no way of knowing if a book I buy on Apple iTunes will disappear along with my ability to read it and the price I paid!

Warning to all readers who might buy something on the Apple iTunes iBooks store!

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I've noticed some famous, classic novels (in e-book format) available on iTunes (iBooks) at prices you normally expect from old books in the public domain, yet I'm not sure that's the case with any of these. And I see no attempt at price matching from Amazon Books. And the prices of these books on Barnes & Noble's Nook bookstore are in line with Amazon. Are all these English versions from different publishers on iTunes legal, I ask myself. Hmm.

For example:

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)
iTunes: $0.99; $2.99; and $9.99
Amazon: $9.99
Nook: $9.99

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)
iTunes: $0.99; $2.99; $3.99; and $11.99
Amazon: $11.99
Nook: $11.99

On The Road by Jack Kerouac (1957)
iTunes: $0.99; $2.99; and $13.99
Amazon: $8.85
Nook: $13.99

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963)
iTunes: $1.99 and $2.99
Amazon: Not available as an e-book
Nook: $9.99

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (1955)
iTunes: $0.99; $1.99; $2.99; and $8.99
Amazon: $8.99
Nook: $11.99

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (1952)
iTunes: $0.99; $1.99; $2.99; $3,99; and $8.99
Amazon: $8.99
Nook: $8.99

And there are more examples. I'm just asking the question why so many cheap editions can be had on iTunes but not on Amazon or Nook. You would think Amazon would price match unless some legal issue is involved. It's unusual to see such a price disparity, but the iTunes cheap editions can be had for only certain authors and not others. I don't see anything cheap for, say, John Updike, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Norman Mailer, or Robert Ludlum.

Seems a bit strange to me, that's all.

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