eBook sellers will have to compete on the iPad

Terrific article in the New York Times today mapping out e-book retailer competition on the iPad:

From the start, no one bookstore will come with an advantage: No matter which bookstore application iPad owners choose, they will have to download it first. Even the iBookstore, as Apple writes on its Web site, won’t come preloaded on the device. iPad owners will be asked to “Download the iBooks app free from the App Store.”

It sounds obvious, but I didn’t quite process it until I read it today. In fact, the other day I was Googling around about methods for importing Banes & Noble e-book purchases onto an iPad (this isn’t a good one, for this very reason). The answer is that I won’t. I’ll just download the B&N e-reader app to my iPad and read them there, easy peesy. And that’s *why* there’s a Kindle App for the iPad, and one from B&N, and so on. They want to keep you buying their product, wherever you’re reading it.

5 thoughts on “eBook sellers will have to compete on the iPad

  1. My husband has sent me several articles on the e book situation regarding the i pad. I seemed to get more and more confused with every article I read. For some reason, this blurb clarified things for me.

    Financial Times reports that Random House, the world’s largest book publisher, has yet to sign on to Apple’s iBookstore and may not do so before the iPad’s April 3rd launch as it weighs fears that Apple’s agency model for eBook pricing will result in a price war, eroding publisher profits.
    Markus Dohle, Random House chief executive, did not exclude the possibility of reaching a deal before the iPad goes on sale on April 3, but said he was treading carefully, as Apple’s pricing regime could erode established publishing practices.

    Rather than allowing retailers to set their own pricing for books, Apple is building on its existing App Store model to allow publishers to set retail sales prices, with Apple taking a 30% cut of revenue. Apple has argued that the change will allow publishers to create more sustainable business models than the current system of relying on the willingness of distributors such as Amazon to sell content at little profit or even a loss, and a number of major publishers have accepted Apple’s proposed tradeoff in view of their long-term viability. Random House, however, remains unconvinced and is still working with its authors and agents to assess the potential impact of a shift to Apple’s agency model.

  2. The pricing situation is definitely complicated. I’m curious how much the user is going to be aware of these machinations, really, except in cases like Random House’s, where the books just aren’t available yet. Once Amazon and B&N come out with their apps for iPad though, iPad users don’t really have to care what deal gets worked out with Apple, I’d guess. They can just buy the Kindle version of, for example, Didn’t I Feed You Yesterday, and read it through the app.

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  4. And this is yet another reason why I’m still carrying around those weird paper things with words printed on them. I’m usually an early adopter of most tech-type things, but I just haven’t gotten my mind around eReaders yet. I think I expected the eBooks to be cheaper. I don’t know why, I pay around $10 bucks to download a whole CD.

  5. It took me about 6 months from saying I couldn’t get on board with ereaders to being really interested in them, so I do know what you mean… I wouldn’t give up the weird paper things for anything. But I’m curious enough to want both. I thought they’d be cheaper too, really. And when you start looking into it, some of them are, but new releases and such seem to be staying on the high side.

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