While the value of this information is fairly dubious and fraught with hidden factors, it seems that the Kindle store is outselling the iBooks store (on iPad) by 60 to 1. First, let’s look at the source of this information and then discuss why ebooks are winning and, more specifically, the Kindle store won.
A young man name J.A. Konrath, who seems to write mysteries, noted that he sells many, many ebooks, commenting that the Kindle store is literally making all of his boat payments for him. However, the iBook store is garbage. He writes:
That leaves Apple, and according to my numbers Apple is a very small part of the ebook market. I sell 200 ebooks a day on Kindle. On iPad, I sell 100 a month.
Now obviously we’re talking mysteries here so people who probably read him before in paperback probably immediately started picking him up when they bought Kindles early on and, in the end, stuck with him on the Kindle store. We also have to assume that the iPad crowd may be focused more on reading Eat, Pray, Love and other hippie dippy stuff, but that’s an unfair assessment. There is obviously a selection bias here, regardless.
He also notes that all the complaints against ebooks – that real books are pretty and smell nice and that ebooks hurt your eyes – are pretty much false. Generally the people complaining about these issues probably aren’t buying many books anyway. There are estimates that 10% of book sales will be ebooks in the next year and it will only get worse for the paper and glue crowd.
Here is my official prediction: the mom and pop, independent book stores will close in five years. The big chains will close in eight. Libraries will go entirely ebook by 2020. Like vinyl and CDs, physical books will be a quaint reminder of our past.