10 Replies Latest reply: Jun 19, 2012 1:55 PM by MichiHenning
Edgar Level 4 Level 4 (1,175 points)

Do you want to know why it is taking forever to get your iBook approved? Do you wonder how many books are actually approved per day? I was asking myself the same question and because Apple doesn't release any numbers, I monitored the numbers on the iBookstore recently to get an idea.

Here are the numbers (just to get a rough idea, not scientifically proven)

 

The iBookstore has finally a feature that lets you browse only iBooks (aka Multi-Touch Books). It displays the numbers of all available Paid and Free iBooks. That is what I was monitoring each morning.

 

When I started to monitor the iBookstore on May15th it had a total of 3,217 iBooks. If you use January 19th as the start date, then Apple would have approved an average of 26 books a day.

 

Now here is a table where I wrote down the number from the iBookstore each morning of that day. The two columns next to it show the difference (how many approved that day) and the total number of approved iBooks (paid and free)

 

iBookstore.png

 

 

 

There are a few interesting conclusions you can draw from the numbers.

* You see a drop over the weekend. Maybe that is proof that the department is located in the US and not in China or India.

* The approval numbers fluctuate but the average is about twice as high as the 26 books from the original start. So they must have hired more staff (or reading faster)

* Interesting that there was a big junk of free iBooks yanked off the bookstore

 

Another unscientific info about the bestseller ranking from my own stats.

With about 10 sales a day I land in the 30s rank.

WIth about 2 sales a day it ranges from number 50-100

Those numbers fluctuate wildly and I'm sure there are other factors (i.e. total sales) in that calculation.

 

It would be interesting to hear numbers and experiences from other users.

 

Edgar Rothermich

DingDingMusic.com


Final Cut Pro X, Mac OS X (10.7), DingDingMusic.com/Manuals/
  • 1. Re: How many books are approved a day - here are some stats
    K T Level 7 Level 7 (23,700 points)

    700,000 books since that category was established....do the math.

     

    Apps? 1000 a day are submitted with a reported 5 day review wait. Again, do the math...

     

    Given the gold rush since Jan. 2012, things can only get better over time.

  • 2. Re: How many books are approved a day - here are some stats
    MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)

    Another way to look at it is that, in roughly four months, roughly 4000 paid and free IBA books have been added. A thousand new titles per month is quite a lot, it seems. It would also be interesting to know how that compares to non-IBA books, and how that compares to Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

     

    I still get the impression that, currently, Apple is far from the "go-to" place to buy books. It seems that Amazon are firmly in the king-of-the-hill position. I suspect that the major obstacle to larger market share by Apple is the limited availability of the iPad, and the inability to read books on a PC or Mac (something that Amazon allows).

     

    Certainly, since publishing my book, I have received lots of responses saying "I'd love to buy your book, but don't have an iPad". Apple have sold 50-60 million iPads so far. That sounds like a lot but, when compared to the population size of the 32 territories, it's a drop in an ocean. For publishers, the problem is that their potential success is limited to the penetration of the iPad.

     

    In Australia, with a population of something like 22 million, Apple sold 1 million iPads in 2011. To me as a publisher, this effectively means that I'm selling a book to a population in which more than nine out of ten people are illiterate.

     

    Michi.

  • 3. Re: How many books are approved a day - here are some stats
    visualign Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Edgar's numbers seem small, probably limited to a particular category. As of today (6/15/12) there are 8421 iBooks in Sports and Outdoors and 11847 Books in Travel & Adventure. Is the 700,000 K T mentioned the number of all iBooks in all categories?

     

    I just published my own cycling and climbing adventure book a few days ago. Like Michi, I've also heard the comment "I'd love to buy your book, but don't have an iPad." For now I'm resisting the temptation to publish on the Kindle platform, simply because the multi-media experience on the iPad is far superior. As author, I'm looking at two trends: Growth in book titles and growth in iPads.

     

    Growth in iBooks is probably near linear, as the approval process depends on human reviewers and thus scales very poorly. From other threads and my own experience I get the sense that Apple is improving its support for authors and review delays are coming down. Self-publishing gets easier all the time, the free iBooks Author tool fueling that trend. For any individual author, the larger the selection, the more difficult it is to stand out. So bigger is not necessarily better. (Try competing against 650,000 apps in the App Store!)

     

    Growth in iPads is exponential, with more than 15 million being sold worldwide last quarter 2011 (Source: Asymco) and volume nearly doubling YoY. So by the end of this year we can expect ~30 million units per quarter or 300,000+ units per day. Unlike Michi, I don't consider 60 million iPads a drop in the ocean. It's 15% of a 400million+ iOS device ocean, growing rapidely. It may still be early, but at these rates in a year or two iPads will be ubiquitous. That said, for Apple apps are more profitable than songs, which are far more profitable than books (see comparison here).

     

    My bigger concern is the extreme attention inequality of online markets. Very few titles at the top garner nearly all the attention (and earnings). Attention spans get shorter and the noise gets louder. Content half-life is short. Popularity is a fickle beast (see Zynga). Not sure where this is headed. I think one needs both good content and good luck to drive meaningful sales.

     

    Thomas.

     

    Message was edited by: visualign

  • 4. Re: How many books are approved a day - here are some stats
    MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)

    Growth in iPads is exponential, with more than 15 million being sold worldwide last quarter 2011 (Source: Asymco) and volume nearly doubling YoY. So by the end of this year we can expect ~30 million units per quarter or 300,000+ units per day. Unlike Michi, I don't consider 60 million iPads a drop in the ocean. It's 15% of a 400million+ iOS device ocean, growing rapidely.

    Yes, I agree, the growth is very impressive.

     

    But that doesn't change the fact that, as a publisher, I have a 9 in 10 chance that my book will not be available to a customer. In other words, 9 out of 10 people who would love to buy and read my book can't do so because they don't have an iPad. That's quite a serious limitation.

     

    And, of course, as the author, I'd be quite happy to get ten times the royalties I'm getting now…

     

    Personally, the artificial lock-in of books to the iPad (and, for ePub 3, the iPhone/iPod) well and truly *****. I understand why: Apple is a hardware company and wants to sell its hardware. That's why there is essentially zero chance that we will see an iBooks version for Mac/PC.

     

    Conversely, Amazon's model ***** just as much. They are a content company and sell hardware only as a necessary evil, meaning that there is zero chance that Amazon will support ePub 3. A proprietary file format suits them just fine…

     

    Michi.

  • 5. Re: How many books are approved a day - here are some stats
    K T Level 7 Level 7 (23,700 points)

    visualign wrote:

     

    Is the 700,000 K T mentioned the number of all iBooks in all categories?

     

    Total all...and growing

  • 6. Re: How many books are approved a day - here are some stats
    MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)

    Total all...and growing

    So, did you count them all?

     

    Michi.

  • 7. Re: How many books are approved a day - here are some stats
    K T Level 7 Level 7 (23,700 points)

    No, sorry, I have a computer do that type of work for me. Computer science teaches such things. I'm sure you'd find that type of study worth your time. Perhaps there is a college nearby that would take you in.

  • 8. Re: How many books are approved a day - here are some stats
    MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)

    Thank you very much for you advice. I shall look into it.

     

    Michi.

  • 9. Re: How many books are approved a day - here are some stats
    visualign Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I looked up the number of book titles per category in Apple's and Amazon's bookstores yesterday:

     

    Category

    Amazon

    Apple

    Percent

    ***

    Professional & Technical

    107804

    360619

    26.98%

    26.98%

    Fiction & Literature

    20700

    227773

    17.04%

    44.02%

    Reference

    49942

    95433

    7.14%

    51.16%

    Business & Personal Finance

    78007

    76608

    5.73%

    56.89%

    Halth, Mind & Body

     

    63303

    4.74%

    61.63%

    History

    244585

    51904

    3.88%

    65.51%

    Religion & Spirituality

    123177

    49448

    3.70%

    69.21%

    Romance

    82851

    48581

    3.63%

    72.85%

    Children & Teens

    67825

    47718

    3.57%

    76.42%

    Nonfiction

     

    46908

    3.51%

    79.93%

    Mysteries & Thrillers

    64773

    41776

    3.13%

    83.05%

    Sci-Fi & Fantasy

    60828

    39861

    2.98%

    86.03%

    Arts & Entertainment

    71065

    37874

    2.83%

    88.87%

    Biographies & Memoirs

    60365

    33643

    2.52%

    91.38%

    Science & Nature

    87395

    27825

    2.08%

    93.47%

    Computers & Internet

    29770

    17558

    1.31%

    94.78%

    Politics & Current Events

    33551

    17461

    1.31%

    96.09%

    Travel & Adventure

    21181

    11874

    0.89%

    96.97%

    Cookbooks, Food & Wine

     

    8593

    0.64%

    97.62%

    Sports & Outdoors

    20909

    8443

    0.63%

    98.25%

    Lifestyle & Home

    73509

    8082

    0.60%

    98.85%

    Humor

    30506

    7265

    0.54%

    99.40%

    Comics & Graphic Novels

     

    4559

    0.34%

    99.74%

    Parenting

    27879

    3407

    0.25%

    99.99%

    Textbooks

     

    100

    0.01%

    100.00%

     

     

     

     

     

     

    1356622

    1336616

     

     

     

    These numbers are upper bounds, as book titles can be in up to three categories. So the real number of unique titles is probably closer to 1/3 or 1/2 of the 1.33 million, which is close to K T's 700,000 number.

     

    Amazon and Apple are similar in total number of titles (with a few different categories). I had expected there to be much less titles in the Apple bookstore compared to Amazon. So selection size isn't much of a differentiator anymore. That said, number of sales are still far higher in the Amazon store. Many early eBook adopters still prefer their Kindle over the iPad when looking for new eBooks.

  • 10. Re: How many books are approved a day - here are some stats
    MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)

    Thanks for posting those numbers!

     

    I think one major differentiator is that Amazon has a much more useful store with more features. The browsing experience of the iBookstore is really clunky compared to the Amazon store. I suspect that the recent change in size requirements for book covers signals some sort of change for the iBookstore. We should learn more in August or so.

     

    Michi.