The iBookstore

Dave Winograd on the failure of the iBookstore:

The Kindle store currently advertises that they have over 700,000 books, magazines, and blogs available for download. Apple hasn’t released statistics on the number of currently available books, so an accurate comparison isn’t easy to make, but it’s a safe bet to say that once you eliminate the ability to load .pdf files, the availability of e-books from the iBookstore pales. At launch, it was reported that the iBookstore contained somewhere between 46,000 and 60,000 titles, 30,000 of which came from the Project Gutenberg library of free out-of-copyright books. However, since these are also available on the Kindle, we can reduce both sides of the equation by 30,000. This brings the number of titles at launch for the iBook to a generous 30,000. That’s a big difference, but outside of raw numbers, there are many factors constraining a massive increase in iBookstore sales.

I love gadgets more than anything, so I got a Kindle when it came out and loved it. Then I got an iPad when that came out and I love it. I never use my Kindle anymore. But one of my very favorite iPad aps is Kindle for iPad, which syncs nicely with Kindle for iPhone and even in a pinch with Kindle for Mac.

Which is just to say that I think the whole business concept underlying the iBookstore is kind of misguided. Apple makes electronics that I think are great, and Amazon is a great retailer. In retrospect, the whole success of iTunes (as opposed to the iPod) is really just a huge business mistake on the part of firms with specialization in online retail or music retail.