While there is a lot of buzz around eBook Apps on the iPhone and even claims that the iPhone is more significant for reading than eReaders there are few attempts to actually enumerate exactly what the number of active users is, what types of Apps are popular, and how many daily downloads there are.
Well, here are a set of reasonable estimates and hard numbers on reading on the iPhone.
3 Million Active Users of eBooks Apps
The big data points here are from Flurry, a mobile application analytics company, that estimates 3 million iPhone owners are actively using Book Apps.
They also point out –
- eBook apps are the second largest category of Apps in the App Store (they quote Apptism) –
However, most surprisingly, we have observed that just behind the largest category, games, eBooks has emerged as a strong second (with 14% share).
- 300% growth in active users of eBook apps from April to July.
Note that Kindle for iPhone was released on March 4th, 2009 and there were just .5 million active readers then.
Update: Please do not interpret this post as meaning iPhone is more significant for reading than eReaders. Firstly, at this point we have no idea of how many books these iPhone ‘active’ users are actually buying. Secondly, the Kindle itself is ‘probably’ over a million unit sold and Sony was definitely at 400K units sold in January 2009.
10,000 eBook Apps for iPhone – 12% of Total Apps
The actual number of book apps is –
For the Last Year
- Mobclix – 10,067 eBook Apps. 12% of All Apps. 691 of which are paid and 9,376 are free (93.1%). In comparison Games Apps are 19.7% and Entertainment applications are 15%.
- Apptism – 10,124 eBook apps. eBooks as the second biggest category with 14% of total apps.
For the Last Month
- Mobclix- 158 eBook apps added. 11% of apps. 7 paid, 151 free (95.6%).
Most Popular eBook Apps
Via Apptism we have these top eBook apps –
- Kindle for iPhone (4th overall in App Store App rankings). As a measure of how significant that is, Amazon Mobile is 97th.
- Stanza (24th overall).
- B&N eReader (27th).
- B&N Bookstore (46th).
- eReader (69th). This is around where the top paid eBooks app i.e. Classics would fall.
- AudioBooks (75th).
- Shakespeare (95th).
- Tips and Tricks (Lite version) – The paid version is a bestseller too.
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
- Love Poems.
- Grimms Fairy Tales.
- Bible Stories.
- The Scriptures.
- KJV Bible Audiobook.
- Alice in Wonderland.
- Archie: Freshman Year #1.
- Book Bazaar (a book search and price comparison engine).
- Shortcovers by Indigo Books and Music.
- Coleman Campfire Tales.
- Alice in Wonderland.
- Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen.
- The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer.
Top Paid eBook Apps
- Classics – $0.99 (4th overall in iPhone Paid App Rankings).
- Tips and Tricks – iPhone Secrets. $0.99 (34th).
- Holy Bible KJV – $0.99 (68th).
- The Little Red Hen – animated storybook. $0.99 (74th).
- Audiobook player – 2,300 Free Books. $0.99 (75th).
- 150 Plus Great Books – $1.99 (95th).
- Hells Kitchen – $4.99 (149th).
- NIV Bible – $7.99.
- A Twilight Trivia Book – $0.99.
- 23,469 Classics – $1.99.
- The Love Dare – $0.99.
- Picture of Dorian Gray – $0.99.
- Twilight – $9.99
- Self Help Classics – $1.99.
- GI Joe: Prequel – $0.99.
- DreamBook – $0.99.
- Easy Recipes – Food and Drink. $0.99.
- LDS Scriptures App – $14.99.
- New Moon (Twilight) – $9.99.
There seem to be four main types of eBook Apps –
- eBook Readers from the big shots i.e. Kindle, B&N, etc.
- Paid One off Book Apps.
- One off public domain books.
- Paid and Free public domain book readers.
Sales Rank to actual Sales Numbers – Kindle for iPhone has over a million monthly users
Flurry again have the best data (May 2009) –
- Average downloads per day for Top Free Apps – 181K a day for #1, 98K a day for #2, 63K a day for #3, 60K a day for #4, 53K a day for #5, 52K a day for #6, and 24K a day for #10.
- This would indicate Kindle for iPhone is getting around 60K downloads a day these days (perhaps more).
In terms of active users the most useful data point is from Admob who list statistics for their tracked apps (mostly free apps) –
- The top 5% of apps see over 100K active users per month. Given that Kindle is #4 out of 70,000 apps i.e. top .005% it would not be a stretch to say that over a million users a month use Kindle for iPhone.
- The next 14% of apps see 10K to 100K active users per month.
- The middle 27% of apps see 1K to 10K active users per month.
Also interesting is that Joel Comm reveals that when he hit #1 overall in December 2008, his app sold 13,274 units. It had sold 9,760 units on the day it was #2.
That would mean that in about 5.5 months, the daily sales of the #1 iPhone App increased from around 13,000 a day to around 180,000 a day – about 14 times.
Kindle for iPhone Numbers, Conclusions
Just putting these together again –
- Kindle for iPhone probably has over a million active users.
- It probably gets 60 thousand downloads a day.
- Its rank of #4 absolutely dwarfs the sales rank of Amazon Mobile at #97.
- Combine Kindle and Stanza and it would not be a surprise if Amazon has as many active users as all other eBook apps combined.
- In short, Kindle and Stanza together give Amazon an almost unassailable lead.
- Except for Kindle for iPhone, Stanza, and B&N eReader amongst Free Apps, and Classics amongst Paid Apps, no other eBook Apps make the overall Top 25.
- Only 6 of the top 100 paid apps, and 7 of the top 100 free apps are eBook Apps.
Looking at these figures, its no wonder Amazon bought Stanza. iPhone might be more of a reading platform than we realize.
The big missing piece is how many book sales there actually are.
Wonder what Steve Jobs thinks about the fact that 12% of iPhone apps are reading apps and that the #1 and #2 spots are owned by Kindle and Stanza.