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article imageOp-Ed: Has Apple missed an opportunity with eBooks?

By Nicole Weddington     Sep 13, 2014 in Technology
Apple revealed their new models of the iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch in Cupertino this Tuesday in Cupertino, cementing its position in the smartphone market. But it seems to have missed a trick when it comes to eBooks.
Collectively, the new iPhone seem to offer users every feature under the sun: An overhauled iOS 8, an impressive new camera, and a 5.5”, full-HD screen, perfect for viewing photos or watching videos.
Coincidentally, the screen updates make the iPhone 6 the best model yet for reading eBooks on-the-go. But you wouldn’t know from the announcement: Apple has been conspicuously quiet about the eBook market.
While Apple product users have access to the iBookStore and iBooks app for reading on iPhone or iPad, Apple has yet to make public any plans for big steps in the eBooks market.
This is not to say they have been neglecting the market. On the contrary, Apple has been gaining in share of the eBook market. Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble, heretofore Apple’s strongest direct competitor for the second-place spot after Amazon, has been losing prominence in the market.
However, Amazon hasn’t been in a in the best way in regards to its eBooks dealings of late. The retailing giant has been embroiled in troublesome feud with Hachette regarding their request for lower eBook prices.
The publisher’s CEO released an open letter last month justifying its pricing strategies, and so far shows no signs of budging on the matter. Amazon hasn’t been exactly malleable in the proceedings so far, either, though things have been relatively quiet lately, suggesting that the two giants may be working on a solution behind closed doors.
Whatever the situation between Hachette and Amazon might be, the retailer’s competitors have had ample opportunity to capitalize on the trouble to their own benefit. Many have been very aggressive in doing just this.
Even Barnes & Noble, which has made no tactical moves in response, has reported that it continues “to see a sales lift due to Amazon’s dispute with Hachette.”
Yet we saw nothing from Apple, save a stereotypically sarcastic comment here and there. What gives?
One possibility is that Apple is simply taking things one step at a time. Given the way the Amazon vs Hachette kerfuffle has evolved so far, they may be betting that it won’t resolve any time soon, giving them more than enough time to capitalize on it later.
This would mean they’d focus on generating hype for their new products at the Sept. 9th event, and deal with eBooks later. And by all accounts, the hype they managed to generate has been tremendous.
Alternatively, Apple may be content with being number two in the eBook market for now. Some analysts give Amazon such a definitive lead in eBooks that a tiny aside at a keynote focused on the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch would be, effectively, useless.
Apple presumably has little to do to remain roughly the number two eBook seller, especially since Barnes & Nobles’ revenues are still on the whole in decline.
But to take first place, they’ll need to leverage their massive resources and their distinctive je ne sais quoi to oust Amazon and maintain the lead.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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