Kindle, Kobo and WSJ iOS apps updated to fall in line with Apple’s new policy

Amazon has pushed an update for its Kindle app on iOS to fall in line with Apple’s new policy that requires magazine, newspaper and book publishers/retailers to enable in-app purchases rather than giving a link within the app that redirects users to their own payment gateway. The updated Kindle app no longer has a link to Amazon’s Kindle Store and users will now have to go to Amazon’s website directly to purchase books that will be pushed automatically to their iOS devices. Another e-book retailer Kobo and publisher WSJ have also disabled links that allowed users to buy books or subscribe to WSJ respectively. Hit the jump to find out why…Recently, Apple revised its App Store policy that required publishers of books, magazines and newspapers to provide an option to users to make an in-app purchase if the app has a link that redirects users to their own website to make a purchase. Apple’s in-app purchases are just like normal app purchases where Apple keeps 30 per cent of the revenue and the app developer gets the remaining 70 per cent.

The move would not only reduce an app developer’s revenues but would also make it difficult for content providers to provide content bought via an in-app purchase to be available outside of iOS ecosystem. For instance, if one buys a book via Amazon’s Kindle store, the book is available across devices where the user has access to the Kindle app. Similarly, a WSJ subscription bought on an iOS device used to provide complete access to WSJ on other devices and online. This was possible till recently since users had their credentials registered with Amazon and WSJ rather than Apple. However, in case of an in-app purchase users have to use their Apple id credentials.

However, there are many other publishers who seem to be comfortable with Apple’s new policy and are set to provide in-app purchases. This new feature will become more relevant with iOS 5, which has a new feature called Newsstand. With this feature, new editions of a newspaper or a magazine will be downloaded automatically when they are available and will be visible within the Newsstand app.

Having said that, Kindle and Kobo compete directly with Apple’s own iBooks. Another similar app, Zinio, which is a magazine equivalent of Kindle, still has not added in-app purchases and provides an option to users to buy magazines from its own storefront.

It is still unclear whether Apple will eventually relent and reverse its policy but it would be unlikely if most major publications are okay with Apple’s in-app purchase mechanism. However, that could potentially mean that these publishers will pass on the 30 per cent deduction to users.