updated 12:10 am EDT, Fri August 3, 2012
Metadata standard allegedly changed three times in a short period
Publishing Perspective reports that Apple is pushing Spanish and other Latin America publishers to get ready for the launch of the iBookstore, but may be making it difficult for booksellers to comply. According to unnamed sources, Spanish-language e-book distributor Libranda is requesting Spanish publishers to update metadata by August 30 to conform to Apple's stringent, and possibly variable, standards ahead of the rollout.
According to Publishing Perspectives, a "digital strategist and product manager of a prestigious medium-sized publisher" reports that Apple's metadata standards have changed three times in just a few days, and commented that it is "not easy to ask your metadata team to spend the last Sunday of July working against the clock, with directions that may change at any moment."
The guidelines, as communicated to Libranda, says that Apple will only accept US dollars, British pounds, or Mexican pesos in the store, complicating metadata aand potentially making the transactions politically-charged, as transactions involving US dollars will be processed through the Falkland Islands. The Falkland Islands are a sovereign territory of the United Kingdom, and also claimed by Argentina simultaneously.
"We have the awkward feeling of mindless improvisation regarding a critical market for Spanish publishers," says the anonymous product manager. "Latin America is our second natural marketplace; we sell lots of print books there. We can't afford not being in the iBookstore, which represents some 30 percent of total digital sales nowadays, but neither can we have a makeshift solution for the region."
Efforts in Central and South America will be coordinated from Apple Madrid until Apple locates an executive familiar with the issues in selling e-books in the region. Competitor Amazon is intending to sell both e- and paper books in the region before the end of the year, but is also running into problems with difficult negotiations with local publishers.