Apple (apparently) thinks books and apps are two different things

A friend of mine sent me a link to this article on the blog/web side Dvice, “You shouldn’t care about Apple easing up on Flash apps.” My friend (and the folks at Dvice) are mostly interested in some of the ways in which Apple is not really easing up on Flash and also some of the kind of snarky language from Apple about their guidelines, much of which I agree with– they don’t need any more fart apps, for example.  Here’s a link to an endgadget article on all this.

But the last paragraph in the Dvice post is kind of interesting to me:

Our favorite: “We view Apps different than books or songs, which we do not curate. If you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song, or create a medical app. It can get complicated, but we have decided to not allow certain kinds of content in the App Store.”

It can get complicated indeed.  For example, what if you wanted to create a book that was critical of a particular religion– the Catholics for child abuse, the Scientologists for being kind of goofy, whatever– and you decided that words in a row were not enough, and you wanted to create a more interactive text, something with audio and video, something that could be manipulated more by the reader.  Unless I’m missing something, that means by definition that you’re creating something that is not an iBook or a Kindle book.

I guess what I’m saying is I’m not completely against Apple’s desire to filter and censor some materials it wants to sell.  Every retailer does that, though with Apple’s monopoly of selling stuff for their devices, perhaps they should be willing to be more open-minded and inclusive.  What I am questioning though is this passage’s easy definition of a book.  Seems to me that Apple already sells a lot of apps that are really books and that are evidence enough about the fuzziness of the boundaries between “book” and “app.”

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