Home iBookstore Now Part of iTunes, But iBooks Still iOS Only

iBookstore Now Part of iTunes, But iBooks Still iOS Only

Much of the reading news from yesterday’s WWDC keynote focused on the new features in iOS 5: the Instapaper-like Reading List in Safari and the new magazine subscription delivery system via Newsstand. But what about e-books, or iBooks rather?

Apple did tout the number of books that have been downloaded since the iBookstore opened – some 130 million. And iBooks, along with other digital content, will be able to be stored online via Apple’s new iCloud service. But while iCloud will let you download your iBooks to any device, you can only read them via the iBooks app. And that app is only available on iOS.

When Apple unveiled its new Mac OS onstage yesterday, iBooks were not mentioned.

Apple versus Amazon: The Battle for E-Readership

Unlike the Amazon Kindle promise that customers can “read anywhere,” those who shop at the iBookstore cannot read their iBooks on their Macs. True, it’s the iPad that is pitched as the perfect reading device. But people do still read e-books on their laptops. In fact, a recent Forrester survey found that laptops are still the most-used device for doing so – even more popular than designated e-readers.

As e-reader popularity grows, of course, that might change. But even with the popularity of the iPad, Apple may not be the bookseller that people turn to to fulfill their digital book needs. Indeed, that 130 million download figure seems pretty paltry when compared to the 200 million iOS devices it has sold to date.

To help boost e-book sales, Apple has rolled out an improvement to the iBookstore now. Instead of only being able to see the company’s full selection of digital books via the iBooks app, books now have a more prominent place in the latest version of iTunes. But when competing with the likes of Amazon and Barnes & Noble, who have dedicated e-reader devices, vast bookstores, and apps on multiple devices, it doesn’t seem as though Apple looks too strong in the e-book marketplace. Not even strong enough to add an e-book functionality to Mac OS X.

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