An Open Letter to Apple

I know it doesn’t do any good, and I know that it’s a tired format, so this “open letter” is just what I sent to Apple duplicated here on the web. I’ll add any responses that I get from Apple to this post (if I can figure out how). You can also submit a complaint to the people running the iTunes store.

UPDATE: I got the weirdest letter back from an Apple rep that clearly didn’t read what I wrote. Not sure what I really expected.

Title: Comixology In-App Purchase

Product : iTunes Store

Support Subject : Other iTunes Store Topics

Sub Issue: Apple has declined to sell an excellent comic through in-app purchase in Comixology, but sells it through iBooks, an embarrassing decision.

Apple has declined to sell a comic book titled “Sex Criminals #2” through in-app purchase in the ComiXology store. This is odd for several reasons:

  • Firstly, it’s an excellent work by two very well-regarded creators that has near-universal acclaim. While the title is a little off-putting, the book is a coming-of-age character study about people’s first sexual experiences told with humor and charm. The book in question is an early front-runner for the Eisner awards next year, the highest achievement for comics, an award for which Matt Fraction, the author, has previously been nominated three times and won once.

  • Apple allowed publication of “Sex Criminals #1” through ComiXology in-app purchase, which covers all the same ground as the second installment. This is both inconsistent and foolish.

  • Apple sells “Sex Criminals #2” in its iBooks store. This goes beyond inconsistency and foolishness straight to “wait, what?” Apple doesn’t want to have the book on a third-party app because it would somehow besmirch the reputation of the iTunes store, but it sells it through its own first-party app?

  • ComiXology sells “Sex Criminals #2” on its website and users who buy it there can download it directly to their iOS device through the app, meaning that the content still ends up on an iOS device, but Apple doesn’t get it’s 30% cut. This seemingly sets new records for confusing behavior, as now Apple is just leaving money on the table.

This is the kind of app store rejection that makes Apple look silly and prudish. A correction of course and an apology to the creators is necessary. As a long-time Apple fan, frequent purchaser of Apple products and services, and frequent defender of Apple’s rights to sell what it chooses, I find this decision strange and unacceptable. Please investigate what is going on and do the right thing.

Thank you for your time,

Jemal Cole

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