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Summary:

Books now outnumber games in the iTunes app store for the first time since the iPhone was launched, according to a recent survey by mobile advertising firm Mobclix. The popularity of the iPhone as an e-book reader could help pave the way for the Apple iPad.

People love their iPhone apps — after all, Apple has sold over a billion of them since it launched the phone. And a big proportion of those apps are games. But you know what else a growing number of people love to have on their iPhone? Books. According to Mobclix, which does mobile advertising for apps, the number of books in the iTunes store now exceeds the number of games for the first time since the device was launched, making books the largest category in the store. The numbers from Mobclix, which keeps a regular tally on the most popular apps and downloads, show that there are more than 26,000 books in iTunes, compared with a little over 24,000 games.

This fits in with something Om wrote recently based on data from Flurry, which also showed a substantial increase in the number of books being downloaded to the iPhone. At the time, Flurry said that Apple was “positioned to take market share from the Amazon Kindle” for book reading, despite the small size of the display, and that “with Apple working on a larger tablet form factor, running on the iPhone OS, we believe Jeff Bezos and team will face significant competition.” That larger form-factor device, of course, will soon be available under the name iPad, and it looks like an even better book reader than the iPhone.

In many ways, the popularity of the iPhone as an e-book reader has created a ton of momentum for Apple when it comes to launching the iPad, which as some have pointed out looks like a much larger version of the phone or its cousin the iPod touch. Having grown used to reading books on a smaller device, it will probably seem pretty natural to trade that in for a larger unit that makes books look even better, and the tendency will likely be to gravitate towards something that looks and feels familiar (and is a full-color touchscreen) as opposed to something like the Kindle.

Having downloaded and read many books on the iPhone myself, through e-book apps such as the Kindle one, Stanza (which Amazon acquired last year) and Classics, I’ve grown quite used to reading them on the device, despite its small size. But I’d be happy to have something that functioned the same way with a bit more real estate, and I’m sure many e-book fans would share that feeling.

Related reports from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):


Evolution of the e-Book Market

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user striatic

  1. Talk about comparing apples to oranges. You cannot compare a book to a game. Would you say iTunes has more music albums than games?

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    1. I kind of see your point, Jim, but I think books and games are more comparable than you think. There are lots of iPhone apps I’ve downloaded and played with once (if that), and there are some books that I’ve downloaded awhile ago that I’m still going back to and reading.

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  2. Thanks for the post, good points.

    This is tricky terrain, to say the least. For (probably) the first time, Apple is trying to disrupt an industry that has already been disrupted by an equally innovative player. Amazon has more than one reason to be worried. We came up with two questions:

    1. What happens to the Kindle Reader App now?
    2. Amazon’s Dilemma: Sell More Kindles Or Sell More eBooks
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  3. [...] Post By Google News Click Here For The Entire Article March 2nd, 2010 | Category: [...]

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  4. It looks like the original article is just comparing the number of apps, rather than the number of downloads, or the number of books acquired from within an app.

    I gather that the large number of book apps is from hacks just wrapping up Project Gutenberg texts in reader template apps and pushing them into the App Store – like spam, but with classic texts.

    Project Gutenberg boasts 30,000 free books online, and there’s almost that many book apps in the store – I’m guessing that’s not a coincidence.

    That said, I think the next few years is going to be very interesting for the e-book model.

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  5. [...] Les livres plus nombreux que les jeux dans l’Apple Store – According to Mobclix, which does mobile advertising for apps, the number of books in the iTunes store now exceeds the number of games for the first time since the device was launched, making books the largest category in the store. The numbers from Mobclix, which keeps a regular tally on the most popular apps and downloads, show that there are more than 26,000 books in iTunes, compared with a little over 24,000 games. [...]

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  6. [...] Books Now Outnumber Games on the iPhone – GigaOM [...]

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