Thursday, June 13, 2013

Apple: We have 20 percent of the U.S. ebook market

Apple: We have 20 percent of the U.S. ebook market, article.
Most estimates had placed Apple’s U.S. ebook market share at around 10 percent, with Amazon’s Kindle at 50 to 60 percent and Barnes & Noble’s Nook at 25 percent. But Moerer said the iBookstore’s market share was 20 percent in the first few months after the iBookstore’s launch, Publishers Weekly reports,  and is about 20 percent now.

If true, this is quite the surprise to me and I'm sure most other commentators. Amazon's bookstore is much larger and seems more relevant, and true to Amazon's goal, it is indeed very handy for me that I can read my Kindle books on virtually any screen device I own. This can't be said for Apple's iBooks. Hell, it won't be until the next OS upgrade that you even can read iBooks books on Apple's own Mac, three and a half years after the first iPad! A failure of grand proportions.

The iBooks store, apart from initiating software which makes sophisticated enhanced text books (which can only be sold via iBooks!) does not seem to most of us to have been doing anything much, or gotten much attention, it's just been sitting there like a wallflower at a school dance.
If the 20% number is true, I will guess this is simply due to the great popularity of the iPad, and a lot of those customers using the iBooks store by default, perhaps not even being aware that there are plenty other book reading apps for the iPad. Beyond the Kindle app, there is the Nook app and the Kobo app, and a plethora of independent apps.

Normally I like it when Apple succeeds, but they are not the underdog anymore, and the fact is that despite them using "the standard format" ePub, due to DRM and lack of apps on other platforms, their books are much more locked down than Amazon's Kindle books are. This is stupid. Apple did a very smart thing when the other executives convinced Jobs, who was adamantly against it, to make iPod and iTunes work with Windows. They should remember this.

Of course the only right thing for society is to make books DRM-free, so there is no big literacy disaster if Apple or Amazon goes down one day.

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