Apple Books Overview Updated December 1, 2020

Apple Books

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153 'Apple Books' stories

December 2010 - December 2020

Apple Books was originally introduced as iBooks in 2010 alongside the original iPad. It came to the iPhone and iPod touch with the release of iOS 4. It came to macOS with the release of OS X Mavericks in fall 2013. iBooks was rebranded as Apple Books with the release of iOS 12 and macOS Mojave.

Apple Books is an all-in-one ebook reader, bookstore, and audiobook player. It primarily uses ePub (with DRM) as the format, but users can also add their own PDF files and sync them over iCloud.

The primary competition for the Apple Books is the Kindle app and the Kindle store. The Kindle ecosystem also has the advantage if having a dedicated e-book reading devices as well.

The bookstore was the subject of an antitrust trial in 2013. The long-standing pricing model for both paper and electronic books was the so-called wholesale model. Publishers sold in bulk to the retailers, and the retailers decided how much to charge. Because retailers were competing with each other, that kept prices down, with Amazon leading the away on ebook pricing with $9.99 bestseller deals.

What Apple – and specifically Steve Jobs – pushed for was a switch to what’s known as an agency pricing model, where publishers decided the price of their books, and retailers took a percentage cut. This maximized profits for publishers and retailers alike, but reduced price competition as the same book would cost the same wherever you bought it. Key to the success of the initiative was to persuade major publishers to tell Amazon that it would likewise need to switch to the agency model if if wished to continue buying from them, and for those publishers not to sell to anyone else at a lower price. It’s alleged that Jobs wrote to five major publishers – HarperCollins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan – and invited them to switch to the new model.

The U.S. Justice department closed the case against Apple Books in 2015. The ironic thing is that Amazon’s marketshare for ebooks is around 83% in the US, so they are the dominant company by far.

Apple Books Stories December 1, 2020

2020 is (thankfully) coming to a close and Apple has shared some handy collections for what it considers the best content from this year. The lists include the most popular podcasts, books, audiobooks, and more like “Biggest Shows of 2020.” And in a first, Apple Podcasts has named a “Show of the Year” with the honor going to NPR’s Code Sw!tch.

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Apple Books Stories May 8, 2020

Apple has released a neat new rich resource today to help writers publish their content on its Apple Books platform. The new website walks through writing, publishing, marketing, and looking at analytics with Apple Books and since it’s web-based works with both Mac and Windows.

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Apple Books Stories March 22, 2020

Earlier today, the Apple Books app sent out a push notification offering a free Apple Book to users. The notification mentioned read-alongs for kids, cozy mysteries, and audiobooks for the whole family.

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Apple Books Stories December 31, 2019

On Sunday, I published a list of my favorite podcasts of the decade. Podcasts are a huge part of my entertainment “diet,” but another one that has become just as big is reading. In 2019, I read 69 books. In a noisy world, reading has become my go-to activity to quiet my brain. For my last post of the decade, I wanted to give you my favorite books of the year. Whether you read on Apple Books, Kindle, Audible, or even paperback, I think you’ll enjoy these books. expand full story

Apple Books Stories November 24, 2019

A few weeks ago, I mentioned how, between all of the excellent podcasts, music, movies, TV shows, and books that the thing most creators are fighting for more than ever before is people’s attention. No longer are we limited by the songs in our library. Apple Music or Spotify gives us access to almost every song available. 99.99% of podcasts are free, so there is always something new to binge. Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Hulu, Apple TV+, and countless others provide us with more TV shows and movies than we could ever hope to watch. The industry, in my opinion, with the most opportunity going forward, is the digital book market. expand full story

Apple Books Stories November 10, 2019

Out of all the electronic devices I own, the one I’d want to give up last is my Kindle Oasis. In my opinion, it brings the best of technology while ignoring the worst. I even wrote a few months back about the idea around Apple creating an e-ink reader to take on the Kindle. Despite Apple’s attempts with the Apple Books redesign, the Kindle and Audible ecosystem is still the best place to be for book fans. I was recently made aware of a feature of the Kindle that Apple hasn’t matched but should be on their radar for a future Apple Books upgrade: US public library system integration. expand full story

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