Follow by email

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

iPad losing out in eBook sales to Kindle

There's no question that Apple has been phenomenally successful in selling phones, tablets, and increasingly desktops/laptops. But in ebooks? Not so much. I've long stated that the iPad is a fantastic device but not suitable for reading least in the long term. The backlit screen can cause eye strain when reading pages and pages of unbroken text, whilst the Kindl's eInk display was made for the job.

 Apple continues to have far fewer titles and far fewer sales. This, despite a relatively strong start from iBook sales and some evidence that iBook sales are growingt. .

The problem? IBooks are only available on Apple devices, whereas Kindle ebooks are available everywhere - or nearly so. Kindle ebook sales dominate iBooks even on Apple devices.
So much so that author J.A. Konrath reports a 60:1 Kindle:iBook sales ratio.
This makes sense in the multi-device world in which we live. As much as we may want to be all-Apple, all of the time, the reality is that at some point we're going to use a non-Apple device, and that moment is the when Amazon's Kindle model makes so much more sense. Kindle ebooks follow the reader everywhere. On their Android device. On their iOS device. Even on their PC .

Apple's strategy of "buy with Apple, use with Apple" doesn't make sense in a world of choice. An ebook belongs to Apple if it only works on Apple devices. That same ebook, if a Kindle ebook, effectively belongs to the user - no matter what the actual legal rights - if the user can access their content on whatever device they happens to buy. Though it must be pointed out that the Kindle still doesn't work with the popular ePub format. Send an ePub file to your Kindle via Amazon merely entails turning the file into a PDF and PDF's are not nearly as versatile as ePub of the Kindle's Mobi format - however the free open source Calibre software does a great job of converting ePub into Kindle's mobi format. So it makes no sense for the Kindle to start supporting ePub with a future update.

It's sometimes said that people won't pay for sync, and that they don't value choice. Kindle's ebook sales compared to Apple's iBook sales suggests otherwise. Syncing across different devices matters. Choice matters.

No comments: