iPhone App Outperforms Most Print (Computer) Books This Holiday Season

Conventional wisdom suggests that when choosing pilot projects, you pick ones with a high likelihood of success. It’s hard to argue that iPhone: The Missing Manual was a reasonable choice for testing the iPhone App waters. But while we knew it would do well, we’ve been quite pleased with just how well:

  • If the iPhone App by itself had been a book, it would be a top 10 seller in BookScan for Computer Books this holiday season, based on just 17 days of sales
  • The print version appears to have been unaffected, retaining a solid position in the top 3 for Computer Books in BookScan
  • A full 1/3 of those buying the app are outside the US, mostly in countries where the print book is not readily available

There are certainly some who don’t care for the book-as-app approach, preferring the library model (where one app enables reading multiple titles). It’s also clear there’s substantial customer interest in both options, and we strongly believe that offering a variety of options and letting customers choose is the right approach. This is a time for experimentation, and we’ll be doing quite a bit more of it (format, pricing, content) in the digital — and especially mobile — space in the coming months.

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