Apple buys into my biggest pet peeve in e-books

Apple contends that the iPad accounts for 22% of all e-book sales, which is most likely bullshit. Because Apple is so known for its transparency, no one can really replicate the numbers, but:
Still, Mr. Jobs said that iPad owners downloaded over five million books in the last two months, or 2.5 books per iPad. Although it is not clear how many of these books are free, this is still a troubling trend for Amazon.
Why? Why do people do this? Because they're assholes who equate downloads with sales. These are not sales if they are free. I'll take anything that's free! But I'm a discriminating consumer when it comes to spending my actual money. There is a difference, Apple, so don't inflate your numbers.

...End pet peeve.


  1. So if I have a library of four hundred books on my Kindle (which I do), only the ones I paid for should count?

    Seriously, I jokingly nitpick with you too much but why does it matter? Without free books I never would have retried such authors as Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jane Austin and countless others. Because of free books I discovered wonderful authors previously unknown to me such as Stephen Leacock and Norbert Davis.

    Does the Best Seller list (which can be more fictional than James Patterson's latest) really matter?

    I know you are not alone in your pet peeve. Amazon has since divided their best selling list on Kindle to free and priced. But I really do not get why this matters. Help me here, please.

  2. Free e-books seem like a good marketing tool; they generate a lot of free attention and don't cost anything except the opportunity to sell the book.

    And free or very cheap public domain books are great as well. It's reasonable to expect e-book vendors to try to frame the data in a way that's favorable to their own marketing objectives.

  3. Gentlemen, I'm not opposed to free e-books. I take advantage of them quite frequently, I agree that they're good marketing, and all that. But I would never put mass market sales on the same list as hardcover sales, because it skews the data--mass markets sell more copies because they're a third or a quarter of the price. Similarly, equating a free book with a for-money book skews the data, and weights certain titles over others. The criteria of the consumer for acquisition are different, and so I think they should be separated out.

    Would I purchase the new Stephanie Meyer novella? Absolutely not. Will I read it? It's a distinct possibility, because it's free. QED!

  4. Read a free Stephanie Meyer novella? Don't, Laura, don't! That is how they get you hooked. Don't risk turning into another Twilight junkie! Next you will start putting glitter on your waffles.