The publishing industry has been gathering at their annual four day national convention and Amazon's Kindle is certainly being seen as the dominant force in the growing e-reader market. Barnes and Noble are gaining momentum and Apple are not delivering at all in this specific market.
It is not often you hear that when discussing the Apple iPad, after all they have sold 20 million iPads over the last year. Why would people not be using the iPad as an e-reader?
There are a few reasons, firstly Apple have not yet moved their e-books into the iTunes store, which means that many people are not being subliminally subjected to the growing list of books Apple sell. This is a feeling mirrored by experts in the industry. Penguin group CEO David Shanks said “They had a respectable launch, but we think Apple can do better, They still haven't moved their e-books into their iTunes store, and they can have a much better search capability in their iBookstore.”
LCD Technology is also not a first choice for reading books, it can give many people eye strain over the space of a couple of hours and it is seen as more of an all round ‘entertainment' device. Richard Curtis, literary agent said “The iPad offers so many audio visual applications that reading is not given as much priority as it is in dedicated (reading only) devices like the Nook and Kindle.”
Apple's bookstore is available on more than 160 million devices, factoring in the iPhone and iPod as well but publishers are saying that Apple sales are not even close to Amazon, who are dominating e-book sales with their Kindle device. A cheaper product which focuses entirely on books and costs a fraction of the price.
They estimate that Apple are only generating around 10 percent of the total market sales, with Amazon leading the way with 65 percent. Publishers are claiming that e-books are now at least 15 to 20 percent of overall sales, more that twice that of last year.
Jason Roth, an Apple spokesman has declined to comment on this to the Associated Press but he did focus on the point that the iBookstore has over 150,000 titles now. Sadly however this pales in comparison to Amazon's figures, which are just shy of 1,000,000. Roth claims that over 100 million books have been downloaded from the iBookstore, although there is no information on how many of these are free titles generating no revenue for Apple or their partners.
Brian Murray, the CEO of HarperCollins Publishers said “There are certainly areas for improvement, as there are with every book retailer and device. But the promise of having another platform where books can be discovered is still true today. The potential is enormous.”
Barnes and Noble are No 2 to Amazon in the e-reader market generating around 25 percent of e-sales according to analyst figures.
Concerns should be raised however for the new, upcoming Amazon tablet, which does not feature a dual screen configuration (e-ink and LCD), initially planned. The technology is still not ready for mass market production and Amazon will be releasing the product with standard LCD technology. Amazon have been vocally critical of this panel design for reading books in the past, even producing videos to show how poor it is in direct sunlight and the customer base have yet to warm to it for e-reading. If Amazon plan to go head to head with Apple for a ‘generalised' tablet, it will prove to be uncharted territory for the online store giant. Many feel they should be waiting until the dual screen technology is available combining e-ink and LCD for the ‘best of both worlds.' Will people rush to buy an Amazon tablet without e-ink technology at a price close to the iPad 2?
KitGuru says: The iPad is not being used as an e-reader. Will Apple try change the system to target The Kindle?