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Google Books back on the shelf in Apple App Store

Google Books disappeared from the App Store for a day as the Big G updated the software to comply with Apple's new rules about in-app purchases. Now it's back, in a tweaked form.

Google Books is back in the Apple App Store following its revamp for the iPhone and iPad. Amazon's Kindle app has had a refresh too, now selling magazine and newspaper subscriptions.

Google's ebook app disappeared from the App Store for a day as the Big G updated the app to comply with Apple's new rules. Apps selling content such as ebooks can no longer send users outside the app to make a purchase. Instead users must either make a purchase through iTunes, earning Apple a 30 per cent cut, or through their browser, in which case Apple doesn't get a bean.

The newly adjusted Google Books keeps its core function as an ebook reader, as do similarly updated apps, such as Kobo, Borders and Kindle. But each app has removed the link to buy more books. Readers now have to buy their ebooks through iTunes or a browser, before the books can be read in the app.

Amazon users can no longer buy books via the app, but can now buy newspapers and magazines, with Apple taking a slice of the proceeds. Kindle for iOS version 2.8 lets you browse, buy and read any of more than 100 newspapers and magazines, including The Economist and Reader's Digest, with fancy high-resolution, colour photos.

If you already have a newspaper or magazine subscription on another device, like a Kindle ebook reader, you can access your subscription on your iPad or iPhone -- just look in the 'archived items' menu for back issues.

The Kindle app's Kindle Store button has now been replaced with an option to share quotes from books on Facebook and Twitter. We're sure your friends will love that.

The changes are less drastic than some feared when Apple first introduced its 30 per cent levy. Apps still function as normal, and the only difference is that readers have to open Safari or the like themselves when they want to buy a book, rather than press a button in the app that takes them there automatically. So that's all right then.

Google Books and Kindle had more good news recently when it was announced that the Harry Potter series will appear in ebook form through the new Pottermore site.