Yes, Apple takes 30%
But I buy more music directly on my iPhone than I have purchased at any point in my life - because iTunes / iOS has made it easier and cheaper to do so, to the point where the experience is better than piracy.
I used to spend about $100 a month on comics. I stopped because I was tired of having no space for them, tired of the weekly trip to the comic shop. After a few months, I stopped buying collections at the bookstore, again, due to convenience. I’ve probably spent more than $400 buying comics in the Comixology iPad app (over the last year). Again, ease, simplicity, and a better experience than piracy.
I used to spend nearly $150 a month on magazines, and then stopped, because I couldn’t justify the expense. Now, I buy at least one (and often several) magazines a month, again, on my iPad, and via iTunes.
So yes, Apple is charging 30% of subscriptions within their applications, same as sales happening through the iTunes system. Because, frankly, they are growing your potential market, as a music publisher, a magazine publisher, or a book seller. They are doing what you could not - fixing the barriers to consumption, and barriers to purchase, for your product.
Frankly, you could not have done this yourselves. And if you’d managed to hire the designers, developers, managers and consultants to create this model for you, it would have cost more than the gross amount of the 30% per sale that Apple is going to charge you.
Is it fair? Not really. Is it nice? No. But it’s not criminal. Because they already did you the favour of creating a channel where your products, rapidly losing relevance and consumers, can find a new audience that is both willing to spend money, and comfortable spending money.
They did it. You couldn’t, or didn’t. And with that, I start hearing a silent ‘only’ whenever I see a publisher talk about Apple’s 30% cut.