Apple's 30%--anyway around it?

Linda Miller, DVM 1anmldr1 at
Mon Jul 16 09:27:28 EDT 2018

I used to create apps and ebooks years and years ago for PDAs.  The only reason that I closed my business was Apple.  Let me explain.  I would contract with authors of books to publish an electronic version of their book. This was a new thing back then.  I also had a website where I sold the apps and eBooks.  I would get about 15% of the sale of every copy of books that I was publishing for Palm's and Pocket PC's.

Then came the iPhone and Apple's app store.  They charged 30% for the sale of everything.  I was not making that much and I was the creator of the apps and the publisher of the eBooks.  I could not make it with those amounts.  There was a way around this that I could see for the eBooks.  

SkyScape was a publisher of medical eBooks while mine were for veterinarians.  They provided a free app.  The customer would purchase eBooks on SkyScape's website. The customer would install the app on their device through Apple's AppStore and then either on their computer or their iPhone, they could go to and purchase a book. Within the app, they had instructions for how to download their purchase. There was then a registration number depending on the device's IMEI(??) number or something that was specific to that customer.

SkyScape did not have to pay Apple the 30%. They were selling the eBooks outside of the Apple environment. I could have had a great business and it would have continued to this day.  I spent a LOT of time and money developing a similar app.  It was great.  It was primarily an eBook reader but there were other functions in the app as well.  It could read .txt, ePub, .pdf, HTML, and maybe others, I don't remember.  The steps for purchasing, installing and registering eBooks was similar to what SkyScape had done.

No matter how many changes I made, Apple kept refusing the app because I was selling the eBooks outside of their AppStore. 

SkyScape's business continues. Mine, I closed.  Our businesses were not competitors.  I even sold a few of their products through my website. I would buy a certain number at a discount and sell them at the regular price to the customer.

I never could figure out how to get around whatever it was that made Apple not accept my free app on the AppStore and yet a similar product they are allowing to this day.

I need help in figuring this out.  I have found LiveCode that I can use for development of apps on the different platforms.  I don't have to learn Xcode again.  But, I need to try to decide what to start developing.

Any suggestions?

If you want to see the process, if I have not explained it well enough, download the SkyScape app for Android or iOS to your device (I have not done it recently).  There should be some free eBooks to install either through the app or on their website.  This may give you an idea.


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