Even as big publishers strike deals to put content on the iPad, a small ebookseller bites the dust
In an bitter letter to users, BeamItDown Software’s Philip Huber makes no bones about whom he blames for the fate of his company and its iFlowReader app, both of which will cease operations on May 31.
BeamItDown is, as far as we know, the first victim of changes Apple (AAPL) made in its in-app purchase rules earlier this year, shortly before it announced its new subscription model. (See Steve Jobs to pubs: Our way or highway.)
In the past week, Time Inc., Conde Nast and Hearst have all struck deals with Apple to offer their original magazine content to subscribers on the iPad and iPhone. But content resellers like BeamItDown have a different business model, one that is getting squeezed by the book publishers on one side and Apple on the other.
On Hacker News, where by Wednesday morning the topic “Apple’s 30% vig for ebooks just killed the iFlow Reader app” had drawn more than 100 comments, opinion was split between those who blamed Apple, those who blamed the publishing industry’s “agency model,” and those who blamed BeamItDown for hitching its wagon to Apple in the first place. As one commentator put it, “You shouldn’t build your foundations on ground that can move at any time.”
Instructions on how iFlow Reader users can preserve the books they purchased are available here.