From my understanding Apple had enacted new rules which required Ebook Stores to give a 30 percent cut to Apple of any purchases made through an In App store. Under the agency system Ebook stores have to give 70 percent of sales to publishers with a 30 percent profit margin (or something like that) for the ebookstore. So basically the new profit would be 0. This has resulted in all Ebook Stores being forced to remove the ability of customers to purchase books "in App" on IOS (with the exception of Ibooks of course).
So Apple is basically engaging in bullshit super anti competitive practices aimed at trying to prop up Ibooks.
It should be noted that the only way the Kobo App developer could even let their customers know what was going on was by posting this on Itunes in the reviews section ... any attempt to do so in the app itself resulted in Apple rejecting it.
On Store Removal
I work for Kobo, and it appears that this is the only means through which I can alert users to the reasons for the changes in the app I wrote. Every other mention has resulted in the app being rejected by Apple, even as they allow other applications to do so.
The store was removed because Apple rejected any updates which included it, period. They also rejected any updates which stated that Apple required its removal, or indeed any mention of 'compliance with App Store guidelines'. It was further rejected for the cardinal sin of allowing users to create a Kobo account within the app. Then it was rejected for providing a link to let users create an account outside the app. Then it was rejected for simply mentioning that it was possible to sign up, with no direction on where or how one could do that. Then it was rejected for making any mention of the Kobo website. Then for any mention of 'our website' at all, in any language. We additionally cannot make any assertions that Kobo provides content for sale, however obliquely.
It should be noted that throughout this process we have worked closely with the App Review team at Apple to approve every change we have made. Those approvals were then rescinded at the request of the nebulous 'from above', i.e. someone further up the management chain.
I should note, however, that the Borders app for the US was subject to almost NONE of these restrictions. This is all the more amusing since the Borders US app is built from the exact same source code, with a different colour scheme and titles.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank our contacts at App Review for their attempted help. They are obviously being placed in a very difficult position.
There you have it. Hopefully people will read this review and understand that none of the changes in v4.5.1 of the Kobo app happened by our own design. We have always intended to provide users with the best experience possible. It looks as though that is not allowed now; our every attempt to provide guidance to our customers has resulted in the rejection of our app. For that I am truly sorry.
This really sucks. I use Kobo on my iPad extensively and this strikes me as being SUPER anti competitive. Basically the only publisher that will be able to have an in app store now is Ibooks ... it's bullshit really and VERY unfriendly to customers.
One thing's for sure I will NEVER buy an Ibook EVER thanks to this. And I may even end up switching to Android as a result.
More here: http://dearauthor.com/features/industry-news/monday-midday-links-apple-flexes-its-app-store-muscle/
and here: http://blog.kobobooks.com/iosstore/#comments