The Apple App clock approaches a billion downloads (is that real time downloading or just Flash for effect?) and two major lessons for book industry folks are hidden among the Spores and the Light Saber.
- People ARE buying books. A lot of them. In the last three months, the books category has grown by almost 300% (thanks to Ben Lorica at O’Reilly Radar for the charts.
There are two major categories of book applications: the Readers (like Stanza or Shortcovers) and the Books as Apps. What’s the difference for a publisher? Books as Apps require development—you need someone who knows how to create apps to take your text and transform it. This strategy works well when you’ve got blockbuster titles like the next Twilight, or reference guides that people will want formatted just for their mobile device, like O’Reilly’s Missing Manual for the iPhone.
In most cases, creating books for the Readers is an excellent way to get your books in the mix without having to pay a developer. Plus, you’re targeting an audience that is already interested in reading on their phones: now you just need to get them interested in your book. If you’re not sure how to get your books ready for the Readers, Stanza has a great primer here.
- Prices Are Lower Than in the Print World. Period. You get a better economy of scale and your customers know it. App prices reflect what your consumer base expects to pay.
You can fight it but it’s true—people will not pay the same amount for eBooks as they will for their print relatives. That doesn’t mean there isn’t money to be made…it means that readers will be a part of the decision for reasonable pricing. If you listen, you’ll be rewarded.