Apple could have a 24% market share in the ebook retail business worldwide, according to Horace Dediu, the founder of Asymco, a website that publishes analysis of business trends.
According to his analysis, Apple sold about 200 million ebooks in 2012, or about 17 million a month. An estimate by Morgan Stanley analyst Scott Devitt that Dediu cites puts worldwide ebook sales in 2012 was 859 million units, giving Apple a 24% market share. Further, Dediu estimates that Apple grosses about $9 per ebook sold, giving the company $1.8 billion in ebook sales revenue*.
In the U.S., ebook market share is often cited as breaking down as follows:
— Amazon: 65%
— Barnes & Noble: 25%
— Apple: 10%
— Others: Rounding error
In conversation with many digital publishing executives, it seems that these numbers — if they ever had much basis in reality — have shifted somewhat in Apple’s favor. Over the past several months, Digital Book World has been hearing that Apple is gaining market share in ebooks in the U.S. — mostly at the expense of Barnes & Noble. And, since the U.S. is the world’s largest ebook market by far, these numbers should have a big effect on overall worldwide numbers. Another factor to consider is that, Apple, unlike Barnes & Noble, is selling ebooks in dozens of countries. Amazon and Kobo also sell ebooks in more than a dozen other countries.
Read more of Dediu’s analysis here.
* By our estimation, this is an optimistic assessment. The average price of an ebook best-seller currently is about $8 though it hovered around $10 for much of last year. However, best-sellers only represent a piece of the puzzle and many ebooks — back-list titles, self-published titles — are sold for well under $10.