cominer

The CliffsNotes on Apple's iBooks News

In Entertainment, Technology, Uncategorized on June 7, 2010 at 7:37 pm
Apple introduces iBooks for iPad

Image by myuibe via Flickr

Monday was Apple’s big Worldwide Developer Conference and the unveiling of the new iPhone and the new iOS operating system (so named because it runs on the iPad as well as the iPhone).

And while it has lots of new featuresFaceTime, HD video editing, multitasking —  this blog’s really about books and publishing, so let’s let others focus on the big picture.

So, let’s take a look at what the changes mean for iBooks and the iBookstore.

You’ll now be able to download and read PDFs and, in what I — as a user of more than one device — find exciting, you’ll be able to start a book on, say, you’re iPhone and finish it on your iPad. You’ll be able to highlight and annotate text. And, it will work with VoiceOver so you’ll be able to have the contents of a page read to you.

Though, on this last point, there doesn’t seem to be an indication yet of how they’ll avoid the audio rights problem that plagued Amazon with the Kindle.

What’s it all mean?

Well, it looks like the already popular program’s going to become more so.

As Apple Insider pointed out, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that in the 65 days since iPad was launched, more than five million books have been downloaded. Jobs claims that gives Apple 22 percent of the ebook market.

Now, over at The New York Times, they’ve posted an item under the headline “Why Apple’s iBook Numbers Are Meaningless.”

Let’s just assume that whomever wrote the headline didn’t actually read the story because while the articles does talk about how the 22 percent number might be a bit of a red herring — though the reporter’s logic is a little fuzzy; he claims you can’t take the 22 percent number seriously because Apple doesn’t sell books from all publishers but it seems that that actually would make the number more remarkable — it does talk about the fact that Apple’s sales are a “troubling trend for Amazon.”

The fact is that Apple’s selling a lot of books and it looks like the changes are going to help them sell a lot more.

Last week, the president of the digital reading business division at Sony, Steve Haber, predicted that “within five years there will be more digital content sold than physical content.”

Admittedly, these are the people who brought us the Betamax.

At the same time, there are really a lot of reasons to think things are moving in that direction.

I think what’s going to be interesting is when Apple finally releases iBooks for Windows or for Android.

As I’ve pointed out, you can’t really compare Kindle and iPhone/iPad sales figures because right now Kindle is a software platform that works on several devices while the iPhone and iPad are, well, the iPhone and iPad.

It was when Apple released iTunes for Windows that it really took off.

I’m thinking that if I’m Amazon, I might be getting a little nervous.

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