Apple Sales Tax

There has been much talk lately over Apple’s recent changes to its app store guidelines. It seems apps aren’t making much profit from ebook sales. You see, anytime an app on iOS makes an ebook sale, 30% of the sale goes to Apple.

When I first heard about the rules I thought they seemed a little odd. I tried to think of an equivalent rule with brick and mortar stores. It took a long time, but finally I found something. It’s not quite the same, but it is quite similar. What I came up with is sales tax.

As with any fees, businesses have a choice to make. Are the fees passed on to customers or absorbed into costs? I can’t imagine ebook retailers having large margins. Passing fees onto customers is a risky option.

However, that’s not the main problem. The ebook retailers have a competitor who is unaffected by these fees, Apple. Apple runs its own ebook store in iBooks. But how does a company apply a fee to itself? This gives the iBooks store an unfair advantage over all other ebook retailers. This would be like the state tax department running a competitive retail store. To me that doesn’t seem fair. But then again, I’m not a retailer and don’t run a business selling ebooks.

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