Long Tail iTunes Book Apps Are More Expensive

In an earlier post, I examined the average price of the Top 100 PAID apps and noted that the relationship between price and popularity was somewhat dependent on the category. But in the Book category, I concluded that the Top 10 PAID apps were on average cheaper than those ranked 91-100. But what if we examine all Book apps, will the long tail apps be pricier?

The animated graphic below traces the evolution of prices in the iTunes Book category. In Q3-2009 the Book category exceeded 10,000 PAID apps, and since then long tail Book apps have (on average) tended to be much more expensive than their more popular counterparts.

Since there are far fewer FREE apps compared to other large categories, pricing is especially critical for Book apps. There are now over 28,000 Book apps, 92% of which are PAID apps††. Looking ahead, the iPad will be available in a few months and many publishers will need to learn how to price their apps for yet another device (see for example [1], [2]).

[For more on ebooks and electronic publishing, be sure to follow events at this week’s TOC conference on twitter.]

(†) There is an upward trend in MEAN price from the more popular apps to the long tail, indicating that many more pricey book apps are in the long tail. The graphic also nicely shows the evolution of prices over time.

(††) The animated graph ends on 2/14/2010, at which point the chart represents the 26,000 PAID Book apps available in the U.S. iTunes App store during that week. In comparison, there were over 29,000 Game apps, 70% of which were PAID apps.

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