Seth Godin: Apple won't sell ebooks that link to Amazon

David Weinberger sez, "Seth Godin reports that the Apple store is refusing to carry his new ebook, Stop Stealing Dreams, because it links the books it references to Amazon. Seth argues that the market dominance of a mere three ebook vendors, and the fact that the vendors of ebooks are also the vendors of ebook readers, imposes a special cultural obligation on them to be 'net neutral' (so to speak) about the content they sell."


  1. Say, can anyone explain these links to me?

    When I look at those links,  I see and

    Wenn I google for “permissionmarket”, I find, which contents seems to indicate, that this is an Amazon affiliate link used by Seth Godin.

    Is my understanding correct?

  2. I’ll note that my comment regarding possible affiliate links used by Mr. Godin has been immediately flagged for review. 

    1. Yes, shocking that three links to the same domain in one comment would get snagged by the spam filter.

      This your first day on the internet?

    1. The article leaves out that those links are very likely affiliate links of Mr. Godin, comments to details have been blocked by BB.   Honi soit qui mal y pense

      1. I checked the web version of the “manifesto” (which is free, btw) and it does seem that the links are affiliate links. I’m not sure that really changes the argument though.

        1. Sure it does.  If Godin was simply interested in providing links to additional reference material, he could provide links to iBooks versions of those books.  But then he wouldn’t get a percentage of those sales, would he?  Nice try, but he got caught.

  3. I suspect this is in response to Amazon’s current pilot project where they are offering e-authors exclusivity. Meaning, they will be heavily marketed by Amazon provided they do not provide their books in any other format. 
    I wouldn’t want someone who is only willing to sell in .mobi format advertising their book at my store that offers a different format either. Not to mention, I doubt Amazon would allow the reverse to happen either, given how they’ve been forcing sites like goodreads to either go Amazon exclusive or have no reference to Amazon’s data at all, even if the book is published by KPG.
    Also, I don’t see how this is any different than say a Nike seller wanting to sell Nikes at an Addidas shop. Addidas would never agree.

    1.  There seems to be something wrong with turning book-reading into something done within walled gardens where you can only read things whose authors have exclusive contracts with your device, not others.

  4. How is this even an issue?  If I was a shop owner would I carry a product that even made a subtle suggestion to shop elsewhere?  For example, would I carry Pepsi in my store if it suggested on the label that I can get a 3L bottle exclusively through Wal-Mart?

    Seth needs to realize that what he is offering is a product (and yes, it may have value that extends beyond a mere product), but as the maker of a product he has to accept the reality that store owners (such as Apple or Amazon) will not want to carry his product if it incentivizes customers to move to a competitor…

    This is how most stores operate, it is logical… this should not surprise anyone!

    1.  Except for the Santa in “Miracle on 34th Street”, who sent kids to a competing store when the things they wanted weren’t carried by the store he was working at.

    2.  For example, would I carry Pepsi in my store if it suggested on the label that I can get a 3L bottle exclusively through Wal-Mart?

      Would you decline to carry Pepsi in your store if the bottle had a coupon for an oil-change at Walmart? What if 3L bottles were a Walmart exclusive?

  5. I’m pretty sure that, at this point, only copyright issues stand in the way of almost anybody recycling Apple’s iconic ‘1984’ commercial for use against them.

    It is an aesthetically pleasing(except for that bloody faux leather nonsense) garden of pure ideology, though…

  6. Apple: We must not let them know it exists, this… “Amazon.”  Burn South America.  And kill the parrots…  All of them.

  7. Apple and Amazon are both being asshats around the ebook market, to the detriment of consumers. That said, I can see their point; Amazon and Apple are retailers who can choose not to sell a book based on any number of criteria – from quality to content. I would buy in to Seth’s “universal availability” argument if Seth’s book wasn’t already universally available as a digital download from his own site. The ability of Seth to market and distribute his book, while diminished by exclusion from Apple’s book store, is certainly not limited.

    1. Also, he could *remove* those links. 

      Though it can certainly be argued that the sellers should not concern themselves with the content. 

  8. He needs to distribute it as an app rather than as a book. I think they are okay with ads and external marketing in apps.

    I totally get why Seth is miffed, but if it were merely content and access (not marketing) then he could use GoogleBooks links, from which people could then choose retailers. Or Library of Congress links.  I mean, my dissertation has plenty of links to books, but none of those links go to Amazon sales pages. 

        1. „anymore“. I meant to imply that they are not taking new ones.


  9. Amazon does the same thing with Android Apps.  They will reject any Android Apps that are submitted to their store if those apps have any links to the Google marketplace for Android Apps.  As a result, developers need to create separate versions of their apps with links that go to the Amazon store if they want to be published on Amazon.

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