updated 04:45 pm EDT, Tue May 17, 2011
Push to establish legitimacy of iBookstore?
Apple will make its first-ever appearance at BookExpo America later this month, reports note. The expo represents the largest industry book fair in the US, and this year is scheduled to run from May 23rd through to the 26th. Apple is said to have secured a large booth in an ideal location: in the same general area as Disney, Random House and Macmillan, and immediately next to Scholastic. Disney's largest individual shareholder is Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who also sits on the Disney board of directors.
At BookExpo Apple will be represented by the iBookstore's Scott Simpson. Why Apple would show at the event is unclear, but the company is not likely to make an announcement and may instead be attempting to establish its legitimacy in the book industry. The iBookstore has only existed for a little over a year, and is believed to represent only a small portion of e-book sales. In February Goldman Sachs estimated that only 9 percent of e-books are sold through Apple, whereas Amazon controls 58 percent, and 27 percent belongs to Barnes & Noble. Borders and Kobo account for 7 percent.
Apple may be inherently limited by platform restrictions. Whereas books for the Amazon Kindle can also be read on Android and iOS devices through custom apps, iBookstore titles can only ever be read in iBooks, software which runs only on iPads, iPods and iPhones. The app's support for third-party files is essentially limited to PDFs.
The decision to participate in BookExpo appears to have come relatively late. Exhibitor lists have been available for some time, and Apple was absent from them as recently as a month ago.