BRUSSELS, Belgium — European newspaper publishers are complaining about apparent plans by Apple Inc. to require all newspaper subscriptions for the iPad tablet computer to be purchased through its iTunes store.
The European Newspaper Publishers’ Association said Monday that newspaper publishers in at least five countries — Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and France — have received letters from Apple in recent weeks informing them of the planned change.
In an online statement, the association said it fears newspaper publishers would lose access to critical information about readers of their digital editions.
Francine Cunningham, the association’s executive director, said Apple indicated it would charge a commission for subscriptions sold through iTunes, which in some cases is 30 per cent of the overall subscription price.
That’s the same agreement Apple has in place with software developers who sell apps — programs of all types, from games to business applications — for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch on the iTunes store. The same revenue split applies to purchases made from inside applications, too, such as new levels for video games.
As more and more people use the iPad and other Apple devices for reading magazines, newspapers and books, Apple seems to be stepping up efforts to control how that content is distributed. Last week, Apple rejected Sony Corp.’s e-book reader app for the iPhone because it doesn’t give people the choice to buy books without leaving the app for a website.
Apple wants such programs to at least give consumers the choice to use the in-app system for buying content on iTunes.
Newspaper publishers are watching to see what happens with The Daily, the first iPad-only newspaper, which News Corp. unveiled last week. The media company is charging 99 cents per week or $40 per year through the iTunes store, giving Apple its customary cut.
A spokesman for Apple in London didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Newspaper association’s statement: