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Books Handhelds Media (Apple) Apple

For September, Book-Related Apps Overtook Games On iPhone 96

Posted by timothy
from the fall's-good-contemplative-reading-weather dept.
ruphus13 writes "In a sign that ebooks are rising in popularity, a recent survey by mobile analytics company Flurry revealed that users may be using the iPhone for more intellectual pursuits, and not just the visual sizzle. The 'book-related' apps on the iPhone overtook games in terms of new apps released. According to the post, 'Book-related apps saw an upsurge in launches in September ... So much so that book-related applications overtook games in the App Store as a percentage of all released apps. The trend isn't an aberration. In October, one out of every five new applications launching on the iPhone was a book ... from August 2008 to the same month in 2009, more apps were released in the 'games' category than any other and, as a result, the iPhone (and iPod touch) became a new handheld gaming platform, one that impacted the Nintendo DS. '"
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For September, Book-Related Apps Overtook Games On iPhone

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  • by clang_jangle (975789) on Monday November 02, 2009 @06:23AM (#29948698) Journal
    Not at all surprising. In spite of all the very vocal Apple haters who love to accuse Apple's products of being "all style, no function", the truth is a high percentage of Apple users are fairly well-educated people and they chose Apple because it does the work they need done. I still prefer Debian and FreeBSD myself, and would much rather have an Android than an iPhone (still using an old Treo 650 with Palm OS until the Droid comes out), but to most non-geeks free as in freedom is just not as much of an issue as we wish it were.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      the truth is a high percentage of Apple users are fairly well-educated people

      The truth is they pretend they are.

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by intheshelter (906917)
        The TRUTH is exactly what the original poster said, it's actually been studied. The other truth is that you must be somewhat threatened by them.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Yes, [clickz.com]
            there's
            always envy [huffingtonpost.com] among the inferior. [cnet.com]

        • I suspect his remark was more tongue-in-cheek than you realize... no need to get defensive. :)

          We all know that the stereotypical users of any given OS aren't necessarily true... not all Apple users are metrosexual elitist jerks, not all PC users are 13-year old 1337 G@merz, and not all Linux users are geeks who never shower and haven't left their parents' basement in 25 years. (for one, I'm a Linux user --Slackware, at that-- and have quite an active social life... going out clubbing/dancing, parties, socia

        • by fafaforza (248976)

          WHEN was is studied? Apple has undergone a pretty exponential growth in market recently, especially with the iPhone, and with that growth come the masses.

          • WHEN was is studied? Apple has undergone a pretty exponential growth in market recently, especially with the iPhone, and with that growth come the masses.

            Indeed. The world breeds better idiots [theregister.co.uk] every second.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Pointing out anything even slightly positive about Apple on slashdot brings all the anti-Apple trolls out of the woodwork these days -- check out the mod abuse of the GP's comment! Good thing we're geeks and not a bunch o' superstitious, ignernt religious fanatics 'round these parts, ain't it?
        --

        </sarcasm>

    • by tomhudson (43916) <.barbara.hudson. ... bara-hudson.com.> on Monday November 02, 2009 @07:20AM (#29948888) Journal

      Actually, it's because it's back-to-school season. Ask any parent.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      If the iPhone was available with a fold-out keyboard like some Android phones (including the HTC Dream, which is what I bought), then my decision probably would have been harder. It's not a sheeple mentality for me, but the iPhone app store does seem to have a lot more of the kinds of stuff I need. (still looking for a port of something like AbiWord to Android... It would be really nice to be able to receive a document by e-mail, make some modifications, and e-mail it back to the person without having to fi

    • by alen (225700)

      the iphone is a derivative of OS X which is based on FreeBSD and Apple contributes to open source projects

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by iamhigh (1252742)
      You managed to speak nothing about tfa (beside your wild ass speculation that somehow all the 16 year olds with an iphone are "well-educated", ha), throw in a little fanboism attacking other phones and those that don't like the iphone, then you pretend to like linux. And you got modded up because of all of that, and nothing of value was added to the discussion! Awesome job everyone involved!
    • by Phoghat (1288088)
      Hi, I'm Tom and used to hate Apple.

      Hi Tom

      I've been a Windows Mobile user for a long time because it did what I wanted. I put up with soft and hard resets, data loss and so forth, but I held in there. Then my old Dell Axim crapped out for the last time and my Zune went away also. I needed to replace both of them and checked out i Pods. I bought a refurbed 16 GB about 2 months ago and haven't regretted it once. I'm Tom and that's mu story.

      Thanks Tom, coffee and donuts are in the back and we need a voluntee

  • by Necroloth (1512791) on Monday November 02, 2009 @06:38AM (#29948740)
    I'm sorry if I've misread... but from my understanding, there are more book-type apps released, not apps sold/used?
    • You read it correctly. Achievement unlocked for reading article. :)

      Apart from the obvious of it not equating to users downloading, the iPhone as itself is not great for reading. Screen is small. Your have to tap a lot, or zoom in/out.

      There is one company (BeamItDown) who have an excellent reader app. It auto scrolls with a speed based on the angle of reading. Makes it very easy to read large amounts of data with little tapping on screen.

      But the books are all public domain stuff. Would be nice to get the app

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by gyrogeerloose (849181)

        Would be nice to get the app separate.

        There are several free e-book reader apps available for the iPhone that are pretty decent. Most of the stand-alone books have been public domain stuff released by one or two publishers who have pretty much spammed the App Store with them hoping to capitalize on people who aren't aware that much this stuff is available for free. It got so bad at one point that Apple was forced to make a separate category for books so users didn't have to wade through the hundreds of book titles to in order to find the apps t

        • by mgblst (80109)

          That is not the problem. The problem is that Apple doesn't allow good searching anymore, it is restricted to keywords that can't exceed 100 characters in total.

          So when people search for a particular book, which most people do, nothing will be returned for that search. So people had to add in individual books to get that market.

          All very well calling them spammers, which they may be, but Apple made this problem worse by restricting searches.

      • It auto scrolls with a speed based on the angle of reading.

        I hope it's not really as bad as it sounds. Moving text is very difficult to read, I thought we learned that lesson from the bad old days of <marquee> HTML coding.

        • It is actually quite good and makes reading on a small device so much easier.

          One of my biggest peeves with ebook devices is that I can read the page fast enough that turning pages actually becomes annoying fast.

  • Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zblack_eagle (971870) on Monday November 02, 2009 @06:42AM (#29948750)

    While it may be technically accurate that ebook apps are rising in popularity, I don't think that developers releasing more ebook apps (likely to be more individual books released as apps than app readers) translates to it being popular for users. For one, it is probably relatively easy for publishers to recycle some code to wrap around books they publish and release them as apps in the app store. Making unique games for a somewhat different platform in terms of IO and UI would be more difficult. If anything it just means that the traditional content owners have been moving in on the iphone as yet another platform for releasing their content on to.

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday November 02, 2009 @06:59AM (#29948800)
    This could mean that people will become more used to reading books in electronic form and more likely to buy a dedicated e-book reader for the improved contrast, battery life, etc. On the other hand it could mean that people will find the advantage of "one device" means that they will go with phones rather than dedicated readers. It will be interesting anyway.
    • by fafaforza (248976)

      Personally speaking, I don't think I would stick to reading a book for long if I had games and the Internet on the same device. I'd be too tempted to check the latest news or waste some time on a simple game. The PRS-505 fits in the back pocket of all the pants I own so it is easily portable. The new model is even smaller, though the screen might be a bit too small.

      One of the reasons I wanted to start reading again was because I couldn't seem to focus on individual tasks and reading materials. I think t

      • by NekSnappa (803141)

        When I'm reading a book on my iPod Touch I turn the wi-fi, or email push off so that the email app doesn't ding at me. Otherwise I find the temptation to check email when I hear the alert.

        Also when I'm reading is when the lack of multi-tasking bothers me the most. I would like to have the option of an internet radio station playing while reading. As it is the only music you have access while reading is what is in your library on the device.

      • by JDHawg (800829)
        Actually, I typically use my iPhone for eBook reading when I'm on airplanes. I can't ("technically", I know) check email or surf the net, so that temptation isn't there.
  • by Chris_Jefferson (581445) on Monday November 02, 2009 @07:07AM (#29948826) Homepage

    Looking through those book apps, there are many groups of people who are just taking every out-of-copyright book they can find and turning each into a separate app. In general, the games don't do the same things, hence the lower quantity.

  • 320x480, 3.5" too small for ebooks IMHO
    • by dbIII (701233)
      Two screens with 256 x 192 works suprisingly well on the DS with the reader in Brain Age or classic books collection so don't give up on all the iStuff which all have brighter screens as well. That said I'd rather have the DS and just have it at the same resolution but bigger and brigher.
      • by fafaforza (248976)

        I tried out the 100 classic book collection and didn't stick too long with it. It was neat in the beginning, but the resolution on the DS is too low, and the LCD (at least on my phat DS) is too bright at night, and not bright enough outdoors.

        • by jc42 (318812)

          [T]he resolution on the DS is too low, and the LCD (at least on my phat DS) is too bright at night, and not bright enough outdoors.

          The brightness problem is slowly being solved, and it probably won't be more that a few more years until you can quickly adjust brightness to what's comfortable to your eyes under most conditions. They might even learn what the paperback-book producers learned decades ago, and replace the default full-white background that is the "standard" now with color schemes that are easie

    • It's good for "enhanced" books though. I've been thoroughly enjoying The Death of Bunny Munro [enhanced-editions.com] by Nick Cave. The extra things an iPod can do (audio, video) can really complement the text if it's done well.
    • With a purpose-built reader for the screen it's actually not that bad. Something like WikiMobile on the Android, for example, is actually very readable. I'd rather do my reading on something like a netbook, or *gasp* an actual book, but for people who don't have the luxury of owning more than one device, or don't have the ability to carry more than one device with them, a smartphone really isn't that bad an option.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Cro Magnon (467622)

      I've read ebooks on my iPhone. It's not as good as my Kindle, but the books are readable.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ColdWetDog (752185)

      320x480, 3.5" too small for ebooks IMHO

      Maybe yes, maybe no. I just finished reading both Moby Dick and Tale of Two Cities on the iPhone, just to see what the experience was like. Not bad, but certainly not optimal. It's just a little too small to handle comfortably for long periods of time, but I found that it was pretty easy to immerse myself in the books even with the small screen because flipping pages (on Stanza) was so easy. I also found that the reverse screen was quite readable for long periods

    • I read through one book on the iPhone Kindle app (Pursuit of Elegance) on an airplane and it was fine - I still prefer paper but if a book is out only in hardback it's cheaper to buy for the KIndle, plus I dislike owning huge books generally. You can read charts OK and you the legibility is good, you just turn pages more often but because it's easy enough to do you don't really notice.

      I'm still very reluctant to buy any eBook unless I can loan it out though (some technical books have started to provide PDF

    • Have you tried it? It forces columns to be short, which is may be an advantage. I've read arguments that columns should be narrow for best reading. It doesn't show many lines, but that's not necessarily important for a novel. I found the scrolling of the BeamItDown reader to work surprisingly well in practice. It's not as good as a paper book, but far more portable.

  • by omgarthas (1372603) on Monday November 02, 2009 @07:17AM (#29948874)
    It's just apps released, I could release tomorrow three millions of "Find your ideal weight" and that wouldn't mean that Fitness apps were rocking the market...

    Book apps are easy, fast and cheap to release, hence the massive release numbers, not any indication of a success
    • by EvilIdler (21087)

      O'Reilly & Associates have certainly noticed how easy it is, and there are a couple of HUNDRED books from them on iPhone now, all at $5 or less. I'm not against this idea, by the way. Books sold as individual apps can get some love & care to make a better product, and I don't have to go through two layers of stores to get at them (book app from Amazon/Barnes & Noble/others, then hunt for the book on each).

  • I just decided while researching a publish date on BarnesandNoble.com to look into the Nook, based on what I have read on Slashdot. (decided not to go to Books-A-Million even though one is in town, I guess just to change it up..) Maybe for the holidays.

    The point is, people yearn for knowledge. That is real joy and pleasure, not wasting time pushing buttons... (Have been an avid Counter Strike player, since the betas.) It seems like we are now giving the people what they need as far as "apps".

  • screw that (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 02, 2009 @07:37AM (#29948952)

    The idea of wasting a slot and otherwise cluttering up my springboard for a single book irks me to no end. If I read at even a fraction of the percentage of books I do like this, I'll have no room left and will have to delete books to fit in new ones in a month or two.

    Hey publishers, you don't need to release your books as their own frakking app, release it in a standard format that can be purchased and read in the a reader like Stanza and you'll have my attention. Until then, I'm not interested.

    CAPCHA: sympathy
    No, they will have none!

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      Especially since OS 3.0 they could release a single app and sell books in-app.

    • by mgblst (80109)

      Yes, but as I said before, Apple screwed up searching, so if you search for a particular book, your multi book app will not come up.

      Anyway, you can delete if from your iphone, you still have it on itunes, and you can add it back at anytime.

  • by obarthelemy (160321) on Monday November 02, 2009 @08:32AM (#29949176)

    I had a go at my sister in law's iPhone over the week-end. The thing certainly is way better then my WinMob 6.1 piece of crap. The user interface in particular is quite good.

    I was especially trying to confirm whether the iPhone would work for me as an ebook reader. I'm used to using PDAs, starting with the original Palm Pilot, on to an aging Palm TX. Sadly, the answer is no: the screen is too small for me. I'm hoping to upcoming 5" android phones will be good.. and not TOO big.

    BTW, my 2 dislikes about the iPhone;
    - the thing is a fingerprint magnet,
    - and the "page-preview" in Safari is not kept up to date with the actual page render, so if you want to know if a longish page has finished downloading, you have to actually fully open it, you can't see it from the "tabs" preview.

    • I switched from WinMob 6.1 to an iPhone too. I'll never go back. I will never buy another phone that has to be operated with a toothpick.

      I read books very often with Stanza. It's great. I just bought a book for it this weekend. "A History of the American People". For reading my Game FAQs and walkthroughs, I use GoodReader. It formats nicely so that a standard ASCII document can be read in landscape view without word wrapping which screws up the ASCII tables and makes them hard to use.

      The Droid looks

    • by mgblst (80109)

      - and the "page-preview" in Safari is not kept up to date with the actual page render, so if you want to know if a longish page has finished downloading, you have to actually fully open it, you can't see it from the "tabs" preview.

      This is a good thing in some way, it means you can view pages without having to have internet access. It is good for caching pages as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The "Percentage of Releases" stat means nothing to me in this case because once a company has released one eBook it costs them virtually nothing in either time or money to release as many others as they want. All they have to do is release the same app with a different eBook file in it and a different name. If each game that comes out takes months of development and each eBook beyond the first takes minutes of "development" then it's obvious which will be released in greater quantities.

    Now, if you told me

  • If games are your only way to pass the time, then that is what people will do. I don't think people are "smarter" because book apps are available, they just have a new choice to do something while waiting at the doctor's office. If porn was available, I am sure you could replace "ebook" with "elook" and have the same article.
  • Yup, everybody commenting that publishing eBooks is not the same as buying eBooks - is right. Absolutely.

    But its still interesting because people would not be spending time on it - unless they thought there is a market.

    The underlying trend is that mobile internet usage is very much going mainstream. This means the audience is not just fanboys and gamers. People who like reading a book - are joining up.

    One wonders how this will impact the wider real-time web. SMS-ing from your mobile to twitter is a
    • But its still interesting because people would not be spending time on it - unless they thought there is a market.

      I'm an iPhone developer, and I disagree. If you think about it, a book reader app with minimal usability is just about the easiest application to write, and all your content is free (for most of the book readers). So the reason we see so many eBooks is that people can do them so easily, there's basically no cost to them - not to mention once you have your reader you can simply plop new conten

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Stanza. Check it out.
  • The headline can be read to suggest that more ebook apps are sold than games, while the summary clarifies the matter that there are more ebook apps released than games in the past time period. The sales data would tell us more about which is more successful on this platform.
  • Mobile games are shit. Books on mobiles isn't so bad so e-books will definitely over take one of the shittiest forms of gaming.
  • Like many others I saw the real reason for the introduction of the app store changes in the 3.0 release of iPhone firmware; the ability to produce a framework app that allowed paid content distribution. This opened up the iPhone to content owners/providers as a portal for their paid content, and in the case of book publishers, a new medium through which to supply ebooks without fear of them hitting the internet for mass duplication as PDF.

    Remember that Apple are big supporters of DRM, and they are just look

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