Depending on your feelings about the Apple iBookstore and iPad, this may or may not come as a surprise. According to a report on Publisher’s Marketplace (subscription required), ebook sales through the iBookstore have been robust, comprising “12 to 15 percent of all ebook sales.” This makes the iBookstore the #2 ebook retailer only a month after opening, and with Random House still holding out. (And, if you ask me, a terrible, terrible user interface in the iBookstore—it’s a wonder you can find anything.) As the report notes, with income lower on a per-book basis under the agency model, ebook sales need to increase 20 – 30 percent in order to make up the difference. It looks like that may just be happening.
The report also notes: “At least two publishers were certain that iBook sales so far have been incremental, growing the overall ebook market rather than taking share from other accounts.” This is even better news, as there was worry that ebook sales would just shift from one store to the other. Growth is good — especially with the news of declines in print book sales.
Publishers have to be thrilled with this news, as moving to the agency model was definitely a short-term gamble. They sacrificed the money they were making from Amazon off loss-leaders for the chance to open the market to another major player. And it looks as though that might be paying off. That said, it’s only a month out, and it remains to be seen if people will continue to purchase their books through the iBookstore.
So does anyone else have an iPad? Anyone buying books with it? So far, I’ve read Lowboy on it, along with many, many submissions, and while I hate the iBookstore, I love the reading experience. How about you?
*For the record, I know this isn’t the correct Sally Field quote, but it’s how most people remember it!