Audible Pulls In-app Purchases from iPhone

Audible has pulled its in-app purchase option from the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch instead of sharing 30 percent of sales from the feature with Apple. The audio book seller also sent out an email to subscribers add home page links to a Shop Audible Web site.

The workaround lets Audible avoid revenue sharing with Apple, although it adds extra steps for subscribers that want to download new audio books since they have to leave the Audible app and visit a Web site. Previously, subscribers could tap a shopping button in the Audible application to find new books to download.

Audible Web shopAudible’s answer to in-app purchases

Apple’s policy requires publishers to share 30 percent of in-app sales and subscriptions, which didn’t sit well with some magazines, news papers and other subscription services. Some companies pulled their apps from Apple’s App Store, others complied with the policy, and some — like Audible — simply dropped in-app purchase support.

“We’d like to update you on a change to the Audible application that affects the way that you access the Audible mobile store,” Audible told subscribers in an email. “In order to comply with recent policy changes by Apple, we’ve removed the ‘Shop’ link from within the app that opened your web browser and took you to the Audible mobile store.”

Audible chose to take advantage of a feature that’s been available on the iPhone since it was first introduced that lets users add Web site bookmarks as icons to their home screen. When users tap the bookmark button, the Audible shopping Web site opens as if it were an app.

The end result is that Audible gets to keep the 30 percent it would otherwise have to pay to Apple, and subscribers now have to go through extra steps to purchase audio books on their iOS devices.

The Audible app is free and available at Apple’s iTunes-based App Store.