Apple Takes on Amazon in the eBook Market

amazon ebook

Amazon is the unquestioned leader in the eBook market. Amazon’s Kindle sales have been going through the roof year after year. Kindle has completely transformed the publishing industry, making it possible for practically anyone to write and self-publish their own books.

No need to pitch their idea to any publisher or make the rounds of publishing houses. Remember the story of how celebrated novelist Stephen King’s first book “Carrie” was rejected 30 times by different publishers before it was finally published? Well, now, all a young writer has to do is to self-publish his or her book on Amazon and start making money, if the book is any good.

Apple has been watching silently as Amazon has been walking away with all the sales for self-published books. They have only recently decided to revamp their e-Book app for iPhone and iPad and improve their eBook services.

Their eBook app will soon listed as “Books” rather than “iBooks”. It is currently in the final stages of its development and the news from sources is largely positive.

The new Books app will have a much better interface and will highlight the book that is being read currently in a section named as “Reading Now”. The app will also have access to a comprehensive digital bookstore with a dedicated tab for audio books. This is going to be similar to the redesigned App Store.

Of course, Apple won’t have it easy against Amazon, which dominates the eBook market. Also, Apple has been hamstrung by a Supreme Court ruling that went against it for eBook price-fixing. They had to pay a fine of $450 million, which was a big amount even for a company like Apple.

Amazon is a colossus in the eBook market, controlling 80% of the eBook sales in North America, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Amazon owns only 10% of this market – which is the most important market for eBook sales. The rest are divided amongst small players such as Kobo and Smashwords. Google also has a small presence in the eBook market.

Most people who read books on their iPhones or iPads, prefer to buy the eBooks from Amazon, and not from Apple’s eBooks store. Amazon completely dominates the Apple ecosystem when it comes to eBooks. This is resented by Apple and they are determined to fight back.

The redesign of the iBooks app is a part of that. It is possible that Apple will introduce mechanisms to block the Kindle app on the iPhone and iPad. If iPhone and iPad users cannot access Kindle books from their devices, it is more likely that they will buy the books from Apple’s store rather than buy a Kindle Fire or a compatible device like that.

Of course, such a decision will not make Apple popular with its own consumers, but that is a price that Apple is willing to pay to stop Amazon’s dominance of the lucrative eBook market. How Amazon responds to that, only time will tell.


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