Apple iPad helped Amazon Kindle gain eBooks market share: says a report

Apple ipad is still selling like hotcakes; and much like other revolutionary products from Apple in the past couple of years; iPad (unveiled in January this year and going on sales in April), it turns out has actually helped Amazon Kindle in more than one ways.

At least, a recent report by Cowen and Co., released on Monday on the digital book market wants us to believe so.

According to the report,

Not only are sales of the Kindle device expected to grow 140% this year to nearly 5 million units from 2009, but digital book sales via the Kindle store are on track to grow 195% to $701 million in 2010.

Contributing those book sales, are Amazon's Kindle app for iPhone and iPad, which allow iPad users to buy Kindle books. So, one doesn’t need to have a kindle device to buy Amazon books. According to Cowen's survey, one in five people or 20 percent of people who buy digital books from the Kindle store don't own a Kindle device(just like apps for iPad and iPhone, Amazon has Kindle has apps for other popular devices as well ).

Apple has its own eBook store too, a direct rival of the Kindle, which is to enable Apple device users to buy eBooks. But it appears, iPad and iPhone users are still not using it much to buy eBooks.

Cowan study finds that, One in six digital book readers on iPad report using iBooks most. This makes for 12 percent of iPad users. But 31% of iPad users say they use Kindle most often.

Among hard-core readers who go through 25 books or more a year, 44% prefer using Kindle on the iPad, compared with 47% for iBooks. On this front, though Apple and Amazon seem head to head; but one should note that, here Kindle is sitting on Apple’s device.

For 2010, Cowan estimates Apple will have 5% of the market for digital books, compared with Amazon, which is projected to have 76% of the market. But by 2015, Cowan estimates Amazon will have 51% of the market and Apple with 16%.

What I feel:

Right from the time, iPad became visible, Amazon acted in a sense of urgency. Some notable steps being:

1) Slashing the prices of all Kindles.
2) Trying to re-brand itself strongly as a no-nonsense e-reader
3) Taking Amason bookstore to the devices other than its own Kindle

The above three steps were based on a simple logic: Amazon sits on the largest number ebook titles then and now; so if slashing the prices of its own e-reader can help kindle-ebook sales; that will be more benefiting. After all people keep on buying books; unlike the device. A proliferation of Kindle app on rival devices; is equivalent to make them search for unique titles.

The strategy seems to be paying now.

To add to the debate, I think iPad users are using their devices, more for games and other utility apps. So, one should see Apple consolidating gaming with iPad in long run.

To conclude, I want to share with you a recent ad, which was airing on UK television some weeks ago. In that ad, Amazon kindle is shown to have the ability to be used in bright sunlight; something which iPad like device lacked because of glare. The ad is seen as an aggressive comment on Apple iPad. But another way of looking at it is Amazon consolidating its e-reader image.

Apple Started the push on ecosystem, with its devices. With respect to books, wide range of eBooks and that too in ample constitute for a healthy ecosystem. Amazon seems to be pushing its ecosystem well. --------

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