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iBooks App Slips, Then Recovers as Kindle App Jumps in the iPad App Store

By Stephen Windwalker

Originally posted at iPad Nation Daily May 8, 2010

Related posts:

In Thinking About Google Books, the Kindle, and the iPad, How About a Little Reality?

at Teleread: Don’t diss Stanza and people who love e-books, Jeff—including us iPad owners

Click here to have posts like this one from iPad Nation Daily pushed directly to your Kindle 24/7 with a free 14-day trial from the Kindle Blogs Store

See updated status report below.

May 8, 2010–Could this be a watershed moment for the iBooks and Kindle apps? Or only for the Pocket Pond?

Apple’s iBooks Store has just fallen from the top rung among free iPad Apps in Apple’s Top Charts listing. Beatweek Magazine called attention to the iBooks’ slippage, in which it has been supplanted an utterly lovely ambient app called Pocket Pond (see screen shot at the right, but it is just the beginning). As the screen shots at the end of this post attest, the brand new Pocket Pond is the new #1 free app for the iPad, iBooks has fallen to #2, and the Kindle Store has climbed from the mid-20s to #13 in recent days.

Naturally, after all we have heard about iBooks during the past three months, most of us iPad owners were eager to download it for free and try it out. The reading environment is very nice for indoor reading, but iBooks has a long way to go to compete in the ebook content marketplace when it comes to selection, prices, user-friendly search/sort/browse features, and access to a critical mass of reader ratings and reviews.

The flip side of these shortcomings and the obvious likelihood of comparison with the 2 1/2 year old granddaddy of all ebook readers may be among the reasons why the iBooks fall is juxtaposed with the Kindle app’s rise, but they are not the only reasons. As the three ads on a single web page in the screen shot at right suggest, however anecdotally, Amazon is investing plenty in making sure that iPad owners and enthusiasts are aware of the ease with which they can download the Kindle for iPad app free in a few seconds to gain access its 512,000 ebook offerings, at a mean price that’s about half the mean price of the iBooks store’s comparatively meager array catalog offerings.

Of course, snapshots are just snapshots, and it remains to be seen what the long-term trends will be. I’m finding the iPad a terrific place to read Kindle books, listen to free Audiobooks and paid Audible.com books, and read free Internet Archive texts in ePub with the Stanza for iPhone app (even after the departure of Stanza fountainhead Neelan Choksi from Stanza.Amazon.com yesterday). Stanza doesn’t show up in the iPad rankings because its app is designed for the iPhone and iPod Touch and has not been optimized for the iPad, but it remains prominent in the smaller devices’ app store ebook-related rankings and may still be the best way for an iPad owner to access over two million texts that are available from the Internet Archive, to say nothing of 12 million titles that may be available in the sweet bye and bye from Google Books.

Update: As of 7 am ET May 11, 2010, the iBooks App has moved back to the #1 Free Apps position in Apple’s TopCharts sales rankings, but the Kindle app continues to climb and has passed a Solitaire app and the Dictionary.com app to move into the #10 position.

Amazon Releases Kindle for iPad App Ahead of Schedule!

When hundreds of thousands of iPad owners switch their iPads on for the very first time this weekend, they will have immediate access to nearly half a million books in the Kindle Store.

Contrary to earlier reports indicating that the Kindle for iPad App would not be immediately available with tomorrow’s iPad release, Amazon announced this evening that the App is now available in the Apple Apps store.

For the prospective iPad owners among us who have already been ordering Kindle books and reading them on our Kindles and Kindle Apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch, PC, Mac, or Blackberry, this is very good news because it means that we’ll have immediate access to all those books on our iPads.

Click here for full download instructions. 

Details — and actual user experience — to follow!

Here’s the news release that Amazon put out moments ago:

Amazon.com Announces Kindle App for iPad

Free App for Reading Kindle Books on iPad Gives Readers Choice from over 450,000 Titles

SEATTLE, Apr 02, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) –Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced its Kindle App for iPad is now available in the App Store. The app lets users select from over 450,000 books from the Kindle Store on iPad and features Amazon Whispersync technology that saves and synchronizes customers’ last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across their Kindle, Kindle DX, iPhone, iPod touch, Mac, iPad, and more.
“Kindle for iPad includes all the features customers love about Kindle for iPhone, including a massive selection of over 450,000 books, along with a beautiful new user interface tailored to the look and feel of iPad,” said Jay Marine, director, Amazon Kindle. “Kindle for iPad is the perfect companion for the millions of customers who already own a Kindle or Kindle DX, and a way for customers around the world to download and enjoy books even if they don’t yet have a Kindle.”
With the Kindle App for iPad, readers can choose from over 450,000 books available in the Kindle Store, including new releases and New York Times Bestsellers, plus tens of thousands of the most popular classics for free including titles like “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” “Pride and Prejudice,” and “Treasure Island.” Bestsellers such as “Backlash” by Aaron Allston, “Big Girl” by Danielle Steel, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot, and “The Lost Symbol” by Dan Brown, and hundreds of thousands of other popular books are $9.99 or less in the Kindle Store. The Kindle Store is the only place to find tens of thousands of books added to the Kindle Store by authors and publishers using Kindle’s self-service platform. Customers can search for a specific book or browse by genre or author, and can take advantage of all the features that customers enjoy in the Kindle Store, including Amazon.com customer reviews, personalized recommendations and editorial reviews.
Features of the Kindle App for iPad include:
* Automatically Syncs with Kindle and Kindle Compatible Devices: Amazon’s Whispersync technology automatically syncs customers’ last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across Kindle, Kindle DX, Kindle for iPhone, Kindle for Mac, Kindle for iPad, and more. Customers can read on their Kindle, read some on their iPad or Mac, and always pick up where they left off.
* Beautiful User Interface: The Kindle App user interface is tailored to the large size, look, and feel of iPad. The new user interface with bold colors, animation, and seamless user experience make Kindle on iPad a unique reading experience.
* Customizable Appearance: Customers can choose to dim iPad’s screen within the app to make reading easier regardless of the ambient light or time of day. Readers can also choose from three different background colors and alter the font color and size to customize the reading experience and help ease the strain on their eyes.
* Page Turn Animation: Kindle App for iPad offers an interactive experience with page turn animation designed to replicate the look of a page turning in a book. Customers who prefer a simpler, unadorned reading experience can choose the “Basic Reading Mode” option and turn off animation.
The Kindle App for iPad is available for free from the App Store on iPad or at www.itunes.com/appstore.
For more information please visit: www.amazon.com/kindleforipad.

Coming Soon: Kindle for iPad and Other Tablets

As we’ve been saying, Kindle Apps are coming soon for tablet computers like the iPad, the Dell Mini 5 “Streak,” and other releases, and this morning Amazon has added one more official indication with a new page on the Kindle site. No big surprises here, but here’s what Amazon has to say about the coming apps:

Experience the Beautiful User Interface

  • Get the best reading experience  available on your tablet computer including the iPad. No Kindle required
  • Tailored to the size, look, and feel of your  tablet computer
  • Customize background  color and font size to ease eye strain
  • Adjust  screen brightness from within the app to make reading easier
  • Page turn animation replicates the look of  turning a page in a book. Or choose Basic Reading Mode for a simpler and  unadorned reading experience

Read Kindle Books on Your Tablet Computer  Including the iPad

  • Amazon’s Whispersync technology  automatically synchronizes your last page read, bookmarks, notes and  highlights with Kindle and Kindle-compatible devices  PC, Mac, iPhone, and BlackBerry
  • Customers can start reading on one device and,  on another, pick up where they left off
  • Already have a Kindle? Access your Kindle books even if you  don’t have your Kindle with you
  • Create  bookmarks, notes, and highlights, and view the annotations you created  on your Kindle

Shop for Books in the Kindle Store

  • Search and browse more than 450,000  Kindle books, including 101 of 112 New York Times® Best Sellers. If you  are a non-U.S. customer, book availability may vary
  • Get free book samples–read the first chapter  for free before you decide to buy
  • Books  you purchase can also be read on a Kindle and Kindle-compatible devices

Amazon Provides Official Confirmation of Coming Kindle for iPad App

Today’s Amazon news release on the launch of its Kindle for Blackberry App provides the first direct and official confirmation that the company will also soon launch a Kindle for iPad App. Here’s the second sentence from the lead paragraph of today’s release:

Amazon’s Whispersync technology saves and synchronizes a customer’s bookmarks across their Kindle, Kindle DX, iPhone, iPod touch, PC, BlackBerry and soon, Mac and iPad, so customers always have their reading material with them and never lose their place.

While it was previously evident for anyone who wanted to connect the dots, the specific statement that a Kindle App is coming soon for the iPad (along with the Mac App that has been “coming soon” since 1974, or at least since November) is a clear indication of something we should not forget: Amazon and Apple may be adversaries or competitors, but they are also business partners on what is or will eventually be a multi-billion dollar level.

The Kindle for iPhone App and Amazon’s Stanza app are already two of the top three reading Apps in Apple’s Apps Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and there is little reason to doubt their capacity to sustain high market share among iPad users. The Kindle Store currently accounts for upwards of 90 percent of all ebook sales, according to widely published reports from unnamed publishing industry sources.