I understand that there are some people out there who are excited, because the new $99 Iphone means you can now get an ebook device, assuming you agree to a two-year commitment, at the lowest service plan rate of, oh, $80 a month with taxes, for $2,000 or so! Plus $36 activation fee.
But beyond price, I think there’s another problem with the idea of Apple-as-the-ultimate-Kindle-competitor: Apple. Just look what the folks at Cupertino did today with ScrollMotion. Apple featured ScrollMotion’s ebook app at their big annual developer’s conference.
Yep, at the site of many a classic Stevenote, Apple presented a little ebook app maker, albeit one with a lock on most of the best-sellers being put out these days, and a claim to many of the new e-textbooks you’ll also be seeing in the Kindle DX. Why would you do that if you were about to launch an ebook store that would bring Amazon to its knees? Why, if you were going to “jump” into the ebook sales market, would you even think about building up a potential competitor? What would be the point?
Maybe the point is, despite hype from industry outsiders, Apple doesn’t see all that much potential in the market for ebooks. The #1 ebook app is Classics, which per its author does 20k sales a month. ScrollMotion’s presence on the app store bestseller list, while lucrative enough to make the company and its .pdf-based Iceberg Reader the second-largest ebook retailer after Amazon (and well ahead of Sony, Fictionwise, BooksonBoard, et al), just does not compare, revenue-wise, to the 500k-selling Pull my Finger.
What I think Apple has said here today was, hey, you want to sell ebooks? Go ahead. You want to do it off our store? Give us 30%. You’re a publisher who wants to sell? Get an App, like the kind our friends ScrollMotion make, but sell through somebody else. Don’t bother us. We do movies, games, music, novelties, productivity software, and GPS-based lifestyle applications, and we make billions doing it. Books aren’t an area of our expertise, and aren’t worth the trouble.