Actually, half of all iPad Books are Fiction

Suggestions to my previous post inspired me to normalize our metadata1 for titles available through the U.S. iBooks app. A comment prompted me to rollup iBooks publishers into publishing conglomerates2:


Comments from other readers gave me the idea to map the 100+ iBooks categories to the more familiar BISAC categories. Doing so means over half of all iBooks titles are Fiction3:


The distribution of titles across the BISAC categories varies by publisher. For example 64% of Macmillan’s titles are Fiction, while 19% of HarperCollins are in the Religion category:

[Click HERE to enlarge.]


I also computed the MEAN price per paid title within a (BISAC) category4, for each of the major publishers. Click HERE for details.

(1) Data for this post includes titles available through the U.S. iBooks app from 4/15 through 5/4/2010.

(2) In creating the equivalent chart for my previous post, I didn’t include titles from Project Gutenberg.

(3) Share of the major FICTION categories can be found HERE.

(4) Even with the BISAC categorization, Cookbooks is one of the higher-priced categories.

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  • rpasley

    Don’t you think it’s a bit premature to derive meaningful info from such statistics? The iPad is only in the hands of very early adopters at this point (which skews the numbers) who are still testing out, i.e. playing around with, a new product (which skews the numbers) by downloading readily available content in a very immature market (which skews the numbers). I can’t see how any sort of market trend can be even suggested at this point.

    • rpasley,

      I’m not claiming the current state of the iPad/iBooks book market will hold over time. The post gives readers an idea of the type of content currently available. As to whether the mix of titles will persist, we’ll have to wait and see.


  • Stephen Windwalker

    Thanks for a very helpful post, Ben. Not premature in the least, and I linked back to it from a new post at iPad Nation Daily.

  • rpasley

    Well there you go…makes sense to me now…thanks.

  • Anonymous

    If half of the books are fiction, wouldn’t that mean the other half is non-fiction.

  • Andy McMillian

    myPadMedia is a service that allows the download of novels, comic books and newspapers in electronic form. It is aimed specifically at the Apple iPad, but can be used with the iPhone and iPod touch too. In addition to the obvious convenience of reading content in electronic form instead of leafing through a physical book, the myPadMedia service also saves you time and money. It can be found here:

  • kirkmc

    The main reason there’s so much fiction is because the vast majority of Gutenberg books are fiction. I think that if you took them out, the stats would be more useful.

  • Interessting study, I wonder if that has changed in 2011 or if the statistics are still the same.