Why all the excitement about iBookstore?

When it comes to reading, iPad is a game changer. I can’t say that about iBooks/iBookstore and I just don’t share all the excitement about Apple’s e-book platform.

I understand, Apple gave a green light to digital books and that’s a big thing. I understand the beauty of iBooks. It’s definitely the most advanced way on earth to make an e-book look like a paper one (but I can’t even say it’s the sexiest – Kobo’s demo looks cooler).

What is iBookstore? It’s a medium-sized e-bookstore, available only in US, which doesn’t even have a website. What’s more, it’s not even Apple’s biggest bookstore. There are more than 100 thousand book applications in AppStore, most of them are books-as-apps.

iPad will be a great e-reader not because of iBookstore. At least for now. With 60 thousand books plus extra 30k from Project Gutenberg (experimental ePub), Apple’s e-book shop is just another alternative. Surely it’ll grow fast, but I don’t think iBooks will become iPad’s default e-reading application. Why?

There are many better options. Stanza with more than 100 thousand titles is already a first choice e-reading app for iPhone OS users. Even without an iPad optimization, it holds thousands of personal libraries. People will stick to it, if they are not forced to change (f.e. when the app will be removed from AppStore).

We’ve got Kindle with more than 450 thousand books, available worldwide. There is Kobo, there is Barnes&Noble.

Too many people tend to forget that the most comprehensive source of books on iPad will be Safari. Previewing web pages will become simple, probably no mobilizing services will be needed. That means all online literature will be easily accessible on iPad. A couple of million books at Google Books – and Google Editions will join the game in the coming weeks. More than 10 million books at Scribd. The service is using flash, but you can always download a book or use a send-to-mobile option.

The number of choices to read books on iPad is unlimited. Or not limited to 60 thousand. Times when everything was about sticking to one bookstore are gone forever. Now it’s not even about sticking to one format (like ePub), but one device. People will not have any problem in having many bookshelves as long as those bookshelves are standing in one device.

10 Replies to “Why all the excitement about iBookstore?”

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