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eBooks outnumber games in the App Store

David Winograd

The number of eBooks in the App Store has surpassed the number of games for the first time, and the spread is widening. Mobclix, a mobile device advertising agency, reports that as of last month, there were over 27,000 eBook apps while games were relegated to the runner-up position of 25,400 apps. Over the last reported month, new introductions of eBook apps more than doubled that of games (158 eBook versus 71 game apps).

There are a number of reasons being kicked around to explain this phenomenon. It's easier to churn out an eBook than a game app. There are more free eBook than gaming apps, since many of the eBooks are out-of-copyright classics or collections of free content; this lowers the cost of development. Once an eBook engine is built it's fairly trivial to use the framework for another book. Currently there are over 10 times more free eBook apps than paid ones. It's different in gaming where paid apps outstrip free ones by over 2 to 1.
Note: One source contradicts another on the above point, so consider it removed.

These eBook apps will, of course, work on an iPad, but the Apple idea is to have you use one eBook reader and that would be iBooks. Jason Kincaid of Techcrunch, admittedly with no background evidence, posits that there may be an eBook purge coming. It would be very un-Apple to have an iPad owner searching for a copy of Treasure Island, and letting them find over 25 apps with differing interfaces and many of them free.

This could be confusing for new iPad owners, and more to the point, Apple can't monetize it. It doesn't sound unreasonable that Apple will do whatever it takes to make iBooks the eReader of choice at the expense of the plethora of current eBook apps. They will be doing it in the name of providing a simpler and more enjoyable user experience, but of course you can't pocket what you can't sell.

It will be fascinating to watch the eBook market about two months from now, after the first iPads have been delivered, and to see what Apple has planned.

[via The Guardian]

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