On Monday, at one Apple’s biggest events of the year, the WorldWide Developers Conference, Apple demonstrated just how popular e-reading has become by featuring a new e-reader app during the keynote. The new app is an upgraded version of ScrollMotion’s original Iceberg e-reader. Previously about 500 Iceberg titles could be downloaded as standalone apps but now the new centralized app will offer in-app purchasing and much more content. With in-app purchasing, users can make their content purchases within the app and are not directed to external content providers to complete the transaction. According to a posting on the Kindle 2 Review blog, the Iceberg app will soon feature:
- Over a million books from popular publishers but more importantly textbooks from: Houghton Mifflin, Harcourt, and McGraw Hill
- 50 major magazines including those from: Harvard Business Review, Conde Nast, Hearst Publications, and Time Inc.
- 170 daily newspapers
- Film, television, and educational content
The new app will also have a copy/paste function and in-app e-mail to allow users to e-mail notes or passages of text. These features give the Iceberg app several advantages over competitor apps such as the Kindle iPhone app. Currently, the Kindle app does not offer these functions or the convenience of in-app purchasing. It is unlikely that in-app purchasing will be added because then Apple would receive a portion of Amazon’s book purchasing revenue.
Another posting from the Fiction Matters blog points out the great position that Apple is now in. Apple will become a partner for one of the largest e-book stores, receive 30% of the revenue from Iceberg Reader purchases, and be able to collect great purchasing data. The posting notes “It’s the kind of data that anyone making a large business decision would love to have, and Apple is getting paid to collect it. This data puts Apple in a terrifically advantageous bargaining position. If they do decide to become a first party eBook distributor, they know what works and what doesn’t in an ecosystem they already have invested in. If they don’t, they will continue to make money from eBooks.”