The iBookstore isn’t a competitor for the Kindle

Ben Lorica just posted an update to last week's post about the iBookstore. He doesn't actually say how many titles are there, but he does point out that Project Gutenberg makes up a third of the iBookstore. That is a damning statistic once you've put it into the proper perspective.

When Amazon launched the Kindle, they had 90k titles. At that time, none of the titles were from PG, and hardly any were from the public domain. All of the titles were from commercial publishers.

(BTW, PG hadn't started converting to Epub and Mobi until long after the Kindle was released.)

The iBookstore, on the other hand, has around 60k titles, one third of which were converted by PG in an automated process. A third of the iBookstore is crap, basically.

It's not fair to compare the 2 ebookstores, really, because Amazon had a much harder position. Apple got to follow in Amazon's footsteps. Amazon had to convince publishers to try ebooks. All Apple did was enter an established market (like they usually do).

In fact, it would be better to compare their respective business models. Amazon will do business with anyone. Even if you only have one ebook, Amazon will sell it for you. Apple won't. I found out from a writer I know that Apple won't accept ebooks from anyone but publishers and aggregators (Ingram Digital is one).All of the aggregators charge an upfront fee for their service, and that will probably discourage most authors and small publishers. So at least half (if not more) of the Kindle Store's 400K plus ebooks will never make it into the iBookstore. How exactly is this supposed to be a serious competitor to the Kindle?

P.S. The fact that Apple insist on aggregators should tell you something about what they really think about the agency model: it's a sham. Apple are taking a retailer's cut and forcing the small fry to give up a distribution fee to the aggregators.

About Nate Hoffelder (11213 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

2 Comments on The iBookstore isn’t a competitor for the Kindle

  1. I just came across this article. One specific fact is no longer true: at least will allow you to publish an eBook with no upfront cost, allow unlimited changes, and is accepted by iBooks into the Apple Store (aka iTunes) with even so little as a single publication. Smashwords will even provide a free ISBN, too, so even that isn’t an excuse to to throw your hat into the self-publishing ring.

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