TUAW says they've heard Apple is blocking all new ebook app submissions to the App Store because they're often used for "infringing upon third party rights" and "have chosen to not publish this type of application." Hmm. Updated
It's definitely possible—Apple just kicked the third-largest developer in the App Store out for intellectual property violations—as part of a new crusade against intellectual property violations. Which, there's totally nothing wrong with making sure content isn't stolen.
Though it does seem a little strange to to slam the door on ebook apps carte blanche to keep developers from publishing—and people from reading, as one developer was supposedly—copyright-infringing books. And another developer told TUAW that an app for a "national content syndicate" was rejected, even though the syndicate obviously owns the rights to their own content.
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For what it's worth the Kindle and Eucalyptus ebook apps are still sitting pretty in the App Store, so maybe, hopefully, it's just a handful of weird, isolated cases, with vocal developers, not something more alarming, like censoring a dictionary. [TUAW via MacRumors, Image via quinn.anyaFlickr]
Update: Apple just confirmed to us that they have no policy against ebooks or ebook submissions. They do have a problem with copyright—which they contact the author to see if they really have the rights to whatever they submit—but nothing against ebooks or ebook readers. And of course Kindle and Eucalyptus are still in there. Sounds like someone jumped to conclusions.
And a statement from Apple:
We have not stopped approving ebook readers and ebooks in fact we've approved 221 new ebooks to the App Store since 7/30/09. The book category in the App Store lists 6,000 apps. and this doesn't cover the full scope since ebooks are included in other categories like medical, reference and education.