Apple’s fall release of iOS 8 was unveiled in a press conference yesterday, and for people who are used to big things from Apple, there’s bad news: this is no iPhone launch. It wasn’t world-changing stuff, just a run down of new features and enhancements that will make everything consumers love about Apple run a little better.
If you’re a self-published author, though, your whole world just blew up in a very good way.
As Mark Coker, CEO and founder of Smashwords, stated in a post about the Apple announcement, iOS 8 will automatically include iBooks as an installed app. That means the 800 million or so users of Apple’s line of products will have access to ebooks and ebook searching at any moment of the day. As Smashwords has had a long-standing agreement with Apple, as well as recently announced that it updates its catalog to Apple’s iBooks five times a day, seven days a week (no lag times while they get around to it!), that means the 250,000 or so Smashwords titles are now available seamlessly for those iDevice users to browse and purchase.
“Prior to iOS 8, readers who wanted to shop iBooks were forced to click to the Apple App store, search for the iBooks app, sign in with their email address and password, and then install it,” explained Coker as to why this announcement was so profound. “The absence of a pre-installed app created unnecessary friction. It means only a fraction of Apple’s customer base today has convenient access to your books (which makes the enormous success of iBooks all the more impressive). Yesterday’s news means iBooks will become ubiquitous. “It’ll be like having a bookstore in nearly one billion pockets and purses. It’s not a stretch to speculate that within a couple years, the iBooks app will be ever-present on over one billion devices around the world.”
Smashwords also announced recently that its agreements with various distribution partners have offered more widespread discovery for its authors’ works, such as the agreement to place titles in OverDrive’s catalog. This partnership makes Smashwords’ Premium Catalog titles available to OverDrive’s member libraries for ebook lending to their patrons.