The dark secret of the Internet has always been that the most successful businesses were in the markets that no one likes to speak about: adult content and gambling. But the iPhone has experienced growth and adoption without serving those markets. Terms of the App Store prohibit applications that are considered objectionable content. With the growing trend of releasing ebooks in application form (rather than relying on the user to download a reader application and then get to a book), some titles are running afoul of Apple’s strict policy on adult material.
David Carnoy, a writer for CNET, recently had his detective thriller Knife Music rejected on grounds that it contained “objectionable content.” This offers some insight into the Apple application evaluation process; Alex Brie, Carnoy’s developer, speculates that Apple is not likely to read through each and every book submitted, but rather must be employing some text-scanning software to look for obscenities.
This presents an interesting dilemma for authors looking to publish their books on the iPhone: a standalone application lets you sell directly to the App Store market, and offers better visibility for your book, but runs the risk of being scruitinized by Apple; working through a reader application lets you avoid worrying about your content, but lowers your exposure to the App Store marketplace.