Apple Won’t Talk About iBooks Sales

So a few days ago Apple held its quarterly conference call. It discussed the usual topics like the number of iPads, iPods, and  Macs sold; how much iTunes brought in; Apple’s estimated market share; and stuff like that. This was Apple’s chance to boast to the press about how well it’s doing, and it always gives out a fair amount of detail.

I’m writing this post a couple days late because I’ve been waiting to hear back from Apple. You see, I listened to the call and I noticed something interesting. Interspersed with the fairly detailed statistics was a vague reference to iBooks, which had 100 million downloads. This is curious because that is the same number bandied about at the iPad2 launch.

When the 100 million download were mentioned at the iPad2 launch it referred to the entire year’s worth of downloads since iBooks was launched. When it was mentioned again during the call, there was no time frame attached. It’s possible but it doesn’t seem likely that iBooks had another 100 million downloads in the most recent quarter. If this were true, Apple would have boasted about it in the press release.

I’ve heard back from Apple, and the vague reference is all the information it will provide. Now, that is interesting. Here we have a company that regularly gives out detailed info – pretty much boasting about its accomplishments. But it won’t talk about iBooks.

I wouldn’t have cared if Amazon, Sony, or B&N had refused to share, but Apple is different. No one else gives details on how many devices or eBooks have been sold; Apple boasts.  And when it doesn’t, you have to wonder what it is hiding.

I can only conclude that iBooks sales are so bad that Apple doesn’t want to tell me the real numbers.  So how bad are the real numbers?

I think I can guess. The real numbers are bad enough that the speculation is less embarrassing. There’s an old saying that seems relevant: “It’s better to remain silent and thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt”. That’s what Apple is doing here.

P.S. You can hear the call here.

image by neoprolog

Publish date: April 22, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT