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Analyst: Apple's 22% e-book share misleading, but a sign

updated 05:00 pm EDT, Mon June 7, 2010

Apple iBook claim omits Random House, others

Apple's claim that it garnered 22 percent of e-book sales in the US isn't truly accurate, analysts warned this afternoon. The figure is only among the five major publishers that have agreed to sell through the iBookstore and doesn't count Random House, which sells through Amazon but doesn't yet support Apple. Independent publishers also aren't factored into the data.

"I am not sure how he calculated that given many of the e-book retailers are private and publishers are loathe to share those sorts of figures," Gartner analyst Allen Weiner said just after the WWDC keynote.

While Apple's share is likely smaller, the figure was still significant and, at five million e-books sold, still meant that "lots" of digital books were sold. Weiner observed that Apple has effectively divided e-readers into three categories, with basic, grayscale readers like the Kobo eReader costing $149 or less; they could go as low as $99 by the fall, the analyst said. Media tablets around 7 inches with LCDs and proper platforms like Android would sit in the middle at $199, while the iPad, Android tablets and other devices will sit higher.

Competing companies do have apps for the iPad, but these are seen ironically hurting the rivals' own devices as the support for color and video makes their "one-dimensional" readers look poor by comparison.

by MacNN Staff



  1. tsmelker

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Who to believe here?

    Apple's own Steve Jobs, who is a proven leader in the technology industry, and whose company has consistently had successful quarter-after-quarter profits over the last decade; or these 'analysts', who are wrong more often than not when it comes to their predictions and commentary about anything Apple does, not to mention Apple's 'imminent demise'?

  1. dimmer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's a pretty simple algorithm really: of the books sold via iBooks that were also available from other eBook retailers, Apple took 22% of those sales. Sure, there are books available elsewhere that are not on iBooks yet, but what is the point in even taking those into account? "We didn't sell many of the things we don't sell"?

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's important to know, because if Apple wants to climb out of their sub-20% could be closer to 10% they'll have to enter the whole market...not just 5 major publishers, but all the independents and even self publishers - of course they are doing just that, so no worries.

    However, we don't know if its sustainable yet. Lots of people who just bought the device, naturally are going to try it out...whether this converts them back into avid readers, remains to be seen. The Kindle is owned by millions of avid readers.

    Most people commenting have long ago stop reading, and stopped buying books...its easier to accept a comment from someone who starts it by saying, I just read a 300 page book on the device, and my experience was.... but that doesn't happen around here.

    I have read a 300 page book on the device, and my experience was, my hand nearly fell off.
    1.5 lbs in one hand, while the other swipes the page turns....omg you wouldn't think its heavy, but its heavy.

    It's ok for 5 minutes, but about 20 minutes into it, and your hand is hurting, and hour into it, and tears are welling in the eyes...if you finish the whole book,'ll be sore for a while.

    I haven't been sore from reading a book since....uh, well since never before...yikes that puppy gets heavy.

    The Kindle is much lighter, and frankly for reading text books, it displays text just fine.
    I'd rather have the lightness of it for for the whole rich experience of the iPad...of course the iPad is better as a computer.

  1. komentarz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    But... People don't read anymore!!!

    A direct quote from Steve jobs in the NYT a few months ago concerning e-readers:

    "It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

    - Steve Jobs

    I guess nobody is reading all these iBooks being downloaded then?

  1. dimmer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Yeah, I think we are pretty much in agreement. Apple is still working to get publishers on-board, but that will come. Even a 10% figure would be impressive given that until the new iOS is out only the iPad could reach Apple's content.

    Sorry, that paragraph is a little messed up. But I think the point comes across if you read it really, really slowly...

    For "hard-core" reading, the kindle (or at least a stand for the iPad) does indeed make sense: I think both products can happily co-exist.

  1. ilovestevejobs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Who to believe here?

    I believe the analyst cause Steve Blow JObs is a lying sack of s*** is.h.i.t

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Well

    It's a pretty simple algorithm really: of the books sold via iBooks that were also available from other eBook retailers, Apple took 22% of those sales. Sure, there are books available elsewhere that are not on iBooks yet, but what is the point in even taking those into account? "We didn't sell many of the things we don't sell"?

    Apple basically stated they have a 22% market share. The analyst was clearing that up. Or, when you heard that 22%, did your mind immediately signal "Wow, 22% of all books that Apple sells they sold". I'm sure it did not.

    Or, now when talking marketshare, we can only talk about that which Apple specifically sells? So, on the music front, does Apple and everyone else make sure they break-out the sales based solely on the music Apple sells vs all music? Or with videos? Or anything else?

    Hey, on the computer front, Apple only sells specific types of models. People shouldn't waste their time looking at Apple's total market share against all computer makers. They should only be compared against, say, laptops sold which are of unibody construction and cost over $1000. And don't look at desktop sales, look at Apple's share of All-in-one computers. And compare mini sales with sales of PCs which use notebook components, are small in size, and don't come with a keyboard and mouse. Apple's MacPro's have got to be #1 in computer sales for all workstation class computers weighing over 50 pounds.

  1. slider

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Actually - Apple is Correct

    In what they said. I watched the keynote this morning and Steve Jobs clearly said 22% of the five publishers.

    Now he summurized 22% percent later without reiterating (sp?) of the
    5 publishers and perhaps that's when the analysts ADHD meds kicked in.

  1. dimmer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Yes, actually, it did read to me exactly as "For the market of books we sell, 22% of those came through our store vs. 78% for competing eBook vendors." -- any other interpretation would be brain dead.

    Your comparison with Apple selling 100% of Macintosh computers is bizarre and illogical. As to your comment re. music and iTunes, pick up the latest Entertainment Weekly and look at their music charts: based on iTunes sales.

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