Apple Is Not Serious About Selling Apple iBooks

Apple Not Serious About Ebooks

So, where is the marketing for Apple iBooks?

It’s awfully hard to find, isn’t it?

How many emails have you received from Amazon, reminding you of the Kindle ebooks you have viewed? Lots?

Have you added Kobo’s emails to your junk mail because it sends so many? Or perhaps, you enjoy reading Mark Coker’s blog on Smashwords.

But Apple? When have you ever received anything that is promoting the Apple iBooks?

I am an Apple fan and read ebooks on my iPad or iPhone using the iBooks app or Kindle app.

Apple has my email address and knows that I buy ebooks. But does it bother using my data it holds to try to sell iBooks to me or other readers on its book store? No.

As an author, I have had all of my ebooks for sale on Apple iBooks for years, and yes, I get some sales.

But they are negligible compared to my ebook sales on Amazon. Kobo sales are better sometimes.


Why? Because Apple is not serious about ebooks.

I am not sure if it is because Apple has been fighting the Department of Justice for so long that they have given ebooks short shrift.

Perhaps Apple believes that their Apple faithful will buy ebooks come what may because they are faithfully locked into Apple’s wall garden.

But one thing is for sure. Apple does nothing to promote ebooks on their Apple iBooks Store. Zip, zero, nil.

Worse, in fact, is that the iBooks Store books app is a monster to navigate, search, and buy. It is for Apple users only, well duh.

But it is also awfully slow and frightfully unhelpful. Well, maybe it’s a little faster if you have the latest iPhone. But on my Mac and iPad, the iTunes and app store is a frustrating experience.

Even worse, is that if I do buy an ebook from Apple books, its iBooks reading app is, well, to be blunt, crippled.

Every time I use it on my iPad or Mac, it changes my view settings after a few pages.

From a nice clear black text on a sepia background to horrid white text on a black background. Restart, reset, and try again, and I’m back to my view settings. But only for ten pages.

Then I’m back in white on black. Okay, it’s only a bug, but in true caring Apple style, it’s been a bug for a long time.


Sorry Apple, um, I’m off to read on my Kindle app, because, well, like you said, ‘it just works.’

But! When I use my Kindle app on my iPad, Apple has another unpleasant surprise in store.

Apple does not allow in-app purchases for anything other than Apple (money-making) products.

So, when I finish an ebook on my Kindle app, the links to other ebooks on Kindle by the same author are blocked, and up comes this message.

Apple Are Not Serious About Ebooks 2

Negative marketing never won a fair lady, Apple! And I have the feeling that Apple is not sorry at all.

It pains me to say this because I am a fully paid-up Apple fanboy, but when it comes to ebooks, Apple is not serious about them at all.

For the ebook publishing industry as a whole, Apple has long disappointed.

If there is one company that had the clout to challenge Amazon’s ebook monopoly, it was Apple.

Apple could have and should have been an active competitor to Amazon Kindle, but clearly, Apple did not want to and still does not want to be a serious ebook competitor.

No wonder it is, ebook game, set, and match to Amazon Kindle.


More reading: How You Can Promote Your Ebook On The Apple iBooks Store

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent teaching English and writing, as well as testing and taming new technology.

7 thoughts on “Apple Is Not Serious About Selling Apple iBooks

  • September 23, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    Thank you for continuing to keep us well-informed.

  • July 15, 2020 at 9:32 am

    I have a question rather than a comment:
    Quid authors rights and royalties Amazon vs Apple? I’d like to know which one treats (and pays) authors the best.
    This would go a good way to my choice making in buying a book from on or the other (if both stock them).
    I have found one article about the comparative paying rates but it dates back to 2010 and I’m pretty sure things will have changes since (here’s the link);
    Thanks for any recent information.

    • July 15, 2020 at 9:56 am

      The terms and royalty rates are similar for Amazon KDP and Apple. Both offer 70% royalties, but there is no exclusivity option with Apple, unlike KDP Select.
      If you use an aggregator to publish on Apple, the royalty is 60% to allow a cut for the aggregator.

  • December 26, 2017 at 12:22 am

    – If you don’t know the exact link, readers will never find a book on Apple iBooks just by searching the title, author or ISBN

    – Uploading books to Apple won’t work if you have a link to other retailers in your ebook. Apple will refuse to have your book on their shelves.

    It looks like eBooks are “peanuts” for them… SAD

  • October 21, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    My iBook sales have declined almost every month in the past two years. It’s a pity because at one point they were 10% of my overall eBook sales and now probably 3 to 4% of eBook sales. Apple knows all the big money comes from movie and music sales so that’s all they care about. Currently, only Google Play Bookstore is even remotely competitive to Amazon Kindle.

  • April 3, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    I wondered why those links were inactive! Thanks for that. I enjoy reading your blog. Very informative.


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