From The Mac Observer:

Apple said on Tuesday that the company has had 180 million downloads from its iBooks ePub book store. The news came during Apple’s quarterly conference call with analysts, and served to highlight Apple’s ongoing success with iTunes. …

Apple didn’t offer a dollar amount for its iBooks sales, nor did it quantify the number of units sold versus the number of units downloaded. Some books are downloaded to multiple devices per account, and some of the titles available on iBooks are free. Apple has never specified what it determines as a “download” from the many facets of its iTunes store.

We noted, however, that Apple also said it has now sold 40 million iPads. 180 million iBooks downloads means that the company is so far averaging 4.5 iBooks per iPad sold, though those numbers are skewed by several factors.

More in the article.


  1. FWIW, Amazon’s ebook stats have always clearly stated they refer to *paid* books sold, excluding all free titles and, not counting “downloads”.

    Plus, Amazon has 11 authors in the “million ebook plus” group.

    The iPad is an enormously successful device but its primary use is definitely not as an ereader of ebooks (magazines and other enhanced material such as vooks notwithstanding).

    I’d expect a significant majority of iPad users will have downloaded at least one free test title just to see how that works. If downloads actually equalled sales, the publishing industry would be smiling a lot more than it is.

  2. Considering there are about 100 million iPhones out there (they’re selling 20 mil per quarter), plus the 40 million iPads, 180 mil “downloads” isn’t too impressive. I would bet half or probably more of those downloads were free, and some chunk were the same book downloaded to multiple devices. Even if they sold 80 million e-books (unlikely), that is only 2 per iPad … and iPads have been out for 18 months now. Basically, it looks like the average iPad owner buys about 1 e-book a year (or, like Alexander said, they probably just grab 1 to try it out), and the average iPhone owner buys well under 1 e-book a year.

    A lot of people seem to like to argue the point, but most people don’t like to read on LCD screens, and just because people CAN read e-books on iDevices doesn’t mean they WILL or that it’s any fun. I’ll keep my Kindle for reading, thanks.

  3. Add in one free Winnie the Pooh per iBooks install (until recently) and the numbers look even worse. I’d go for 60-70% free as a guess.

    Apple get 1bn app downloads a month and 10m books. Books are 1% the size of the app business.

    I don’t think its the screen though – it’s the perception of what the device is for. Apple is for Apps, Kindle is for books.

    Apple have the capacity to change this through a better bookstore and better marketing, but they also need to articulate some of the great things you can do with iBooks that Kindle can’t touch (I’m thinking epub3 features).

  4. Michael: Two things.

    I suggest the Winnie the Pooh idea is not reasonable. It comes as part of the iBooks install.

    You only count iBooks eBook downloads. iPad users may, and probably do, access a lot of eBooks from other sources.

    Though the iPad is certainly not, and I agree with you on this, an eBook reader – it is widely used by everyone I know as an eReader.

  5. David – your maths is impressive but as an iPhone owner, I have read about 20 eBooks on it this year, and bought about the same number from multiple sources, none of which is iBooks. My junior colleague who travels along side me regularly does more or less the same.
    This data is solely about iBooks.
    The truth is reading on an iPhone or iPad is very enjoyable and not a problem at all, especially with complete control over brightness, black on white etc etc. It is also very popular.

  6. I have spent the last six years researching and writing my book “How to Repossess the Government and why we must” and am seeking a publisher interested in this unique subject. Rather than join the herd of exposers and criticisers of government I have come to realistic, Constitutional and non violent solution to the persistent incompetence of government out of control. Any publisher may reply at :(810) 893-2146.

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail