Thursday, May 06, 2010

You like “i,” you really like “i!” *

by Michael

Depending on your feelings about the Apple iBookstore and iPad, this may or may not come as a surprise. According to a report on Publisher’s Marketplace (subscription required), ebook sales through the iBookstore have been robust, comprising “12 to 15 percent of all ebook sales.” This makes the iBookstore the #2 ebook retailer only a month after opening, and with Random House still holding out. (And, if you ask me, a terrible, terrible user interface in the iBookstore—it’s a wonder you can find anything.) As the report notes, with income lower on a per-book basis under the agency model, ebook sales need to increase 20 – 30 percent in order to make up the difference. It looks like that may just be happening.

The report also notes: “At least two publishers were certain that iBook sales so far have been incremental, growing the overall ebook market rather than taking share from other accounts.” This is even better news, as there was worry that ebook sales would just shift from one store to the other. Growth is good — especially with the news of declines in print book sales.

Publishers have to be thrilled with this news, as moving to the agency model was definitely a short-term gamble. They sacrificed the money they were making from Amazon off loss-leaders for the chance to open the market to another major player. And it looks as though that might be paying off. That said, it’s only a month out, and it remains to be seen if people will continue to purchase their books through the iBookstore.

So does anyone else have an iPad? Anyone buying books with it? So far, I’ve read Lowboy on it, along with many, many submissions, and while I hate the iBookstore, I love the reading experience. How about you?



*For the record, I know this isn’t the correct Sally Field quote, but it’s how most people remember it!

4 comments:

  1. Loving my iPad. I purchased and read The Nanny Returns on it and thoroughly enjoyed it (the iBook experience, not the book per se, lol.)

    Up next for me is Elizabeth Gilbert's Committed.

    I've also been thinking about downloading the Kindle reader for my iPad and iPhone. Apparently the two will "talk" to each other, allowing me to read one book on both machines and keep track of where I am in the book. Nifty. Maybe that's the answer to your iBookstore woes? (To be honest, other than specifically looking for those two titles, I haven't had much of a chance to skim through the app.)

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  2. I haven't gotten an e-book reader yet, but I'm glad to hear this because I want to in the future, and I'd appreciate if there's a healthy market for e-books so I won't have to worry about whether a title is likely to be available. That's great that the iPad is growing the market instead of just borrowing from it. Really fantastic news.

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  3. Jen,

    Glad you're liking the iPad -- so am I! The reading experience was much better than I anticipated, and it's definitely my primary reading device. Heck, it's quickly becoming my primary computing device, too.

    Yes, the Kindle app syncs between your devices, as will iBooks when the iPhone 4.0 software debuts this summer.

    As for the iBookstore, it's just a mess. It's impossible to browse, and there are no reviews, editorial or user created, for most books. Add to that the fact that they lump teen and children's book together (grr), and it's a big disappointment. I hope they fix some of those issues, as it really could be a great place to find books!

    - Michael

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  4. I don't have an iPad, but two of my colleagues have them, and I've been amazed at how clear and reader-friendly the print is. I wish I'd had one when I had to lug heavy books around. If I'm ever in a similar position again, I'll bite the bullet and buy an iPad myself.

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