Apple has collected a selection of self-published titles on the iBookstore under a new “Breakout Books” section. The section is intended to give special attention to “emerging talents,” according to Apple, and each is both independently published and highly rated by users. Some are free, most are cheap, and the effort looks like an attempt to remind users that just like Amazon, Apple’s digital bookstore is an opportunity for independent authors to find an audience.
Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program has been a big hit for the online retailer. While the effect for self-publishing authors is debatable, there’s no denying that Amazon has added another lucrative revenue stream to its existing deals with established publishing houses through the effort. Individual success stories might still be relatively rare, but Amazon itself is winning out through the cumulative 30 percent cut it’s taking in on KDP titles. Seeking Alpha estimated that Amazon makes around $48 million a month in revenues from the program, or around $10 million in profit to its bottom line. It’s not a huge amount of money, but it’s a growing revenue source where there was none before.
Apple’s iBooks author promised to be an app that would make it easy for authors to self-publish and submit books directly to the iTunes store on their Macs, but efforts to reach out to self-published authors on iBooks haven’t caught on quite as quickly, at least not in terms of mind share with indie authors. Showcasing content from those kinds of creators is a good way for Apple to attract more of that content to the iBookstore, and possibly make up some ground on Amazon in this regard.