Magazine and newspaper publishers are reportedly encountering difficulties in negotiating with Apple to bring their periodicals to the iBookstore, which Steve Jobs unveiled alongside the iPad last month.
According to the Financial Times, the major sticking points seem to be revenue sharing and the amount of information that Apple shares with its App Store partners.
On the revenue front, an unnamed media executive is quoted as stating that “Thirty per cent forever changes the economics” in reference to the share that Apple takes out of every sale made from its online digital media store.
The issues revolving around customer data seem to be more complex. Magazine and newspaper publishers have traditionally collected and mined considerable amounts of information about their subscriber base—a practice that would become much more challenging in the iBookstore, given Apple’s policy of not sharing any data about App Store buyers.
Given the financial challenges that it faces, the publishers’ negotiating power with Apple may be limited by the iPad’s expected popularity as a multi-purpose mobile platform. In the end, the market may simply have to align itself with the realities of digital distribution, much like the music industry did with iTunes.