Apple finally disclosed some official iPad sales figures and here are the three figures that stood out -
- 1 million iPads had been sold by Friday. That’s almost as many as the number of articles written about the iPad (think about it before you dismiss the idea ;) ).
- 12 million apps were downloaded.
- 1.5 million eBooks were downloaded from the iBooks store.
It’d be nice to know some more details – especially the ratio between paid and free downloads.
Here are some interesting ways of looking at that data -
- In the first month, when users are most likely to make purchases, 1.5 books were downloaded per user per month. Not very promising – We don’t even know how many of the 1.5 million ebooks downloaded were paid books.
- Ratio of apps to books downloaded was 8:1. The notion that people are going to be doing lots of reading can be put to bed.
- The most hyped product in history sold 1 million units after 3+ months of publicity and 1.5 months of preorders and availability. Imagine how well it would have done if people could actually figure out what it’s for.
It just isn’t that impressive to sell 1 million iPads and get 1.5 million ebook downloads after the biggest launch of the year and 4 months of non-stop coverage. 1.5 million books downloaded in a month is hardly a threat to eReaders.
Perhaps the high prices (of the device and the books) are getting in the way of the iPad’s plans of eReader domination.
Playing Devil’s Advocate
Let’s take the same numbers and paint the iPad as the future of the eReader -
- All 1.5 million of those ebook downloads were paid books. That’s 1.5 books a month and 18 books a year.
- Kindle for iPad and Kobo and other eReader Apps will add another 1.5 books a month – That’s another 18 books a year.
- This is just the beginning. By end of the year there will be 10 million iPads – each accounting for 36 book sales a year.
Perhaps we could go as far as claiming that people will actually read more books in later months than in their first month. Perhaps we start saying that not only will people buy books through eReader apps they will also buy individual book apps.
It’s pretty easy to twist the numbers.
Not many people are talking about books. Nearly everyone thinks we should consider the iPad a success now.
Let’s wait till end of the year – Especially when it comes to assessing impact (or lack thereof) on the sale of eReaders.
For Apple lovers Teleread has a pretty sobering comparison -
Engadget has reported that 1.5 million ebooks were downloaded to the iPad in the first 28 days after its introduction. Wow! the press says. “It shows that the iBookstore will rule the world”.
Feedbooks distributed 2.6 million books during the same period!!
The 8:1 apps to books ratio is equally interesting. People are greatly underestimating just how difficult it is to focus on reading when you have thousands of distractions.
Is any company as full of itself as Apple?
Here’s a paragraph from Apple’s Press Release (split and highlighted by yours truly) which highlights why it’s hard for me to like the company despite them having made the iPhone -
Apple ignited the personal computer revolution with the Apple II, then reinvented the personal computer with the Macintosh. Apple continues to lead the industry with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system, and iLife, iWork and professional applications.
Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.
This is the type of write-up professional resume writers probably dream of.
It reminds me of this billionaire in India who’s building an entire skyscraper (literally) as a house – Even after earning billions he still needs to have (and people to know he has) 3 floors of gardens and 2 swimming pools to feel good about himself.
Perhaps that’s what it is – perhaps Apple has a little bit of the nouveau riche thing going on. After all those years of losing to Microsoft they are delirious to be doing so well and can’t help releasing gaudy press releases and thrashing the very life out of words like magical and revolutionary.