Just last week, Apple introduced iBooks 2, an updated version of the company’s e-book software for iOS devices. In addition, they introduced digital textbooks for the iPad and announced partnerships with McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the textbooks. These three publishers are currently responsible for 90% of textbook sales in the United States. Since the moment Apple announced these digital textbooks, it was considered to be a dud. However, today AllThingsD reports on a new research note from Global Equities Research analyst, Trip Chowdhry claiming that customers downloaded approximately 350,000 iBooks Textbooks from the iBookstore over the first three days of availability. Clearly, a dud indeed!
If those numbers are accurate, Apple’s textbook effort would seem to be off to a good start. Which is good news for everyone involved — particularly textbook publishers, who stand to make more money on books sold through iBooks than those sold at retail.
It is unclear how many of those 350,000 downloads were paid purchases, with seven of the eight titles being priced at Apple’s maximum $14.99 price tag. Apparently, these downloads were accompanied by over 90,000 downloads of Apple’s iBooks Author app from the Mac App Store. The eight title, E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth, is available for free, although it currently contains only the first two chapters of the book. Paid titles are also required to offer free samples, and Chowdhry apparently did not mention whether these are counted as downloads.
With only eight iBooks textbook titles available at launch, Apple is just beginning to scratch the surface of the digital textbook market.