Blog Post

On the iPhone People Buy Games, Not Books

When it comes to buying apps in the iTunes App Store (s aapl), books are the most widely available, but they’re also the apps least likely to be purchased, according to Apptizr, an iPhone application recommendation service. It found that 22 percent of all available paid apps in the App Store are books, yet they account for just 3 percent of all app purchases. For developers, a better return on investment comes from Games, Entertainment and Productivity software, the top three categories of paid software in the App Store.

Apptizr’s aggregated data is a gold mine for current and would-be developers alike. For instance, its latest report shows that utilities are the most-browsed category — potential software buyers look for utilities 24 percent of the time. That compares to 15 percent searching the games category, which is the runner-up in terms of interest. And the folks browsing through all those books only do so 2 percent of the time; in other words, developers may be creating many book titles, but they’re simply not in demand.

Apptizr’s report (PDF) comes from the crowd-sourced user data it collects from more than 10 million users, which install the free Apptizr software and “seed” the service by sharing the types of applications they prefer. The Apptizr app then tracks software titles users install on their iPhones and suggests new ones based on an in-house algorithm — Apptizr has offered over 10 million software recommendations to date. Think of it as a Pandora service for iPhone apps.

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

The App Developer’s Guide to Choosing a Mobile Platform

Chart and thumbnail image courtesy of Apptizr

17 Responses to “On the iPhone People Buy Games, Not Books”

  1. jaime cangas

    Is this really relevant? I would be willing to bet that prior to the ipad launch, there were very few books in the itunes store. Most people I bet read and bought their books from amazon using their kindle app. Other than audio books, what books are you talking about? People buy games, big deal? What really is the purpose fo you article? I mena the ipad launched less than month, trust me people will buy books give them time, you guys are so quick to analyze what simply has not materialzed.

    • “I would be willing to bet that prior to the ipad launch, there were very few books in the itunes store.”

      Hit the iTunes App Store and browse the Books category. You should see over 1,600 pages of book apps with 20 books per store page, i.e.: over 30,000, or 18% of the store, per Apptizr. Most were available well before the iPad.

  2. Not surprising at all. I know lots of iphone owners but not one of them has even one book loaded onto their phones. I have an ipod touch and actually do read on it occasionally, does that count?

  3. Scottix

    I just find book statistics on the iPhone are we too misconstrued. First there are only like 4-5 companies that create a reader. Also (1 app = 1 book), so combining a crappy reader with tons of 1 book apps would make the market not want to buy into it. I call it an epic fail in the app book market.