Along with a glimpse of Apple CEO Steve Jobs attending Sunday’s Oscars, viewers may also have seen the first public shots fired in the ebook pricing wars between the Cupertino, Calif. company and online retail goliath Amazon. The 30-second commercial included several best-sellers appearing on the iPad’s iBookstore and at prices spanning $7.99 to $14.99.
Sen. Edward Kennedy’s “True Compass: A Memoir” had a $14.99 iBookstore price, lower than the $19.25 Amazon charges Kindle e-book readers. However, both the $12.99 price for the iBookstore version of James Patterson’s “I, Alex Cross” and $7.99 iBookstore version of “Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Journey to Change the World…One Child at a Time” by Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin were higher than Amazon: $9.99 and $7.19, respectively.
Booksellers have used Apple’s iPad and iBook application as a wedge to force Amazon to change its required $9.99 pricing for Kindle e-books. Publishers were concerned that the artificially low prices would prompt consumers to rethink paying $24 for a printed version of the same title.
Reports last week suggested Apple may already have a lead in terms of consumer mind-share on an e-book platform. Apple could have 40 percent of the e-reader market 90 days after the iPad is released, with the Kindle owning 25 percent of the market, according to Changewave Research.