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Amazon seen with 61% of e-book market, Apple under 5%

updated 03:15 pm EDT, Fri August 6, 2010

Kindle Store still well ahead of iBookstore

Amazon still has a comfortable lead over Apple and other rivals in the US e-book market, an analysis by RR Bowker found. The group disputes both claims by Amazon and said Amazon's Kindle Store controlled 61 percent of e-book downloads, or 10 to 20 percent less than Amazon itself thought. Barnes & Noble's store has 20 percent where Sony has five percent.

Apple's market share for the iBookstore wasn't published at the time of the study but, by extension, was less than five percent. Apple is new to the market, having only opened its store in April.

The study noted that Amazon also has the largest device market share, at 40 percent, and that reading directly on a computer was second. The iPad is known to be affecting e-reader sales, but the actual portion of readers buying books hasn't been divulged by Apple. Most who don't own a reading device have said the cost is the primary obstacle.

Among all digital readers, however, almost all are shedding their print reading. About 50 percent have entirely dropped paper reading, while 49 percent have given up the vast majority of traditional books. About 38 percent of those new to e-book reading said they had downloaded their first title in the last six months.

Commercializing e-books may be difficult, as about half of all downloads are free titles such as public domain books or giveaways.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    don't worry your little head about it

    Comparing free downloads to paid downloads makes sense to the dunderheads of the world, but they should not be thought of as having a direct correlation.

    free downloads can be down for trillions of reasons, from testing your download speed, to collecting books you never will read (maybe just hording for a rainy day), to using it for cryptographic analysis - who knows, the point is, it's free, so it costs nothing.

    Download the book once, need some more room on your hard drive, delete it - get another machine, download it again.

    Free habits, don't correlate to paid habits, understand? Each download of a free book, has not robbed anyone of a paid purchase. The concrete thinkers and simpletons of the world will never understand that, but nobody who needs to know, should think such a thing.

    Many groups purposely encourage seeding out free books, for the purpose of increasing sales - believe it or not they aren't trying to sabotage their own sales.

    It's not a zero sum game, folks - but Macnn, will publish another article tomorrow implying the same thing.

  1. garmonbosia

    Joined: Dec 1969


    can someone explain to me...

    how Amazon can have 40% of the device market share after selling less than 3 million kindles total, when Apple sold more than that in the first 10 days? Kinda makes the whole article sound bogus.

  1. rtamesis

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Too limited selection on the iBookstore

    Apple needs to get more titles into the iBoostore. I keep looking for my favorite books there only to find them available only on the Kindle.

  1. chas_m



    As I Said ...

    ... Amazon's numbers are bullshit, because that company has a history of lying.

    I don't (and never have) denied that Amazon still has a huge lead in e-book sales, but this just makes their "we pay close attention to the metrics" lie even more outrageous.

    As for Apple's share, it should be noted that this survey appears to aggregate answers from surveys conducted in November 09, January '10 and July '10. Two of those three surveys were before the iPad was even out. Let's check back again at years end and see where we are once iBooks has a few months + xmas under its belt.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: can someone explain to me...

    how Amazon can have 40% of the device market shareafter selling less than 3 million kindles total, when Apple sold more than that in the first 10 days? Kinda makes the whole article sound bogus.

    Because the iPad is NOT an ebook reader. It is a tablet computer that can be used to read ebooks.

    And if you don't understand the difference, than you might as well ask how either can claim to have 40% of the market when every PC can be used to read books, and there are a billion of those around the world.

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