Publishers want more to publish on Apple's iPad

Apple may have secured deals with major book publishers, but the newspaper and magazine industry wants more control.

When Apple unveiled the iPad, it announced deals with five major book publishers to bring content to the device. Missing was any mention of magazines or newspapers, which is something many people expected to hear about.

An article posted Monday on the Financial Times Web site may hint at the problems between periodicals publishers and Apple.

Essentially, what it comes down to is control. The Financial Times says that "ownership of subscriber information and pricing have emerged as key issues."

Apple's pricing model for book, magazine, and newspaper publishers is quite similar to what it uses for songs in the iTunes Store. Publishers of the content get a 70 percent cut, and Apple keeps 30 percent as payment for infrastructure costs and providing the service.

Apple also gives publishers some control over pricing, but that's not enough for the newspaper and magazine industry. Industry publishers told the Financial Times that "the revenue-sharing plan makes less sense for recurring charges such as subscriptions."

Another key issue is with subscriber information. This is something newspapers have kept for themselves since the industry began tracking its customers. Newspapers use those demographics in a numbers of ways, including marketing and subscription trends, among other things.

However, whether it be for music, apps, or video, Apple has never shared information about customers with its partners. It's something that iPhone app developers have asked for too, but it's not likely to happen.

"Is it a dealbreaker? It's pretty damn close," one media executive told the Financial Times.

In other news, the Los Angeles Times says Apple will offer publishers use of its FairPlay digital rights management technology to protect digital books and other publications. DRM is used in the digital media industry to deter piracy and copying of materials.

Apple currently has deals signed with book publishers Hachette, Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan.

About the author

Jim Dalrymple has followed Apple and the Mac industry for the last 15 years, first as part of MacCentral and then in various positions at Macworld. Jim also writes about the professional audio market, examining the best ways to record music using a Macintosh. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. He currently runs The Loop.

 

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