Why iOS 8 turned iBooks into a must-read.

Apple's eBook appeal is just getting started. Photo: Apple

It seems like there’s a revolt among a segment of diehard Apple fans every time a new app comes preloaded in iOS. No one likes bloatware, and Apple is usually good about keeping crap out of its software. The main problem is that iOS apps can’t be deleted and phone storage these days is precious.

Yet it turns out that choosing to include iBooks as a stock app in iOS 8 was the best thing Apple’s ever done for its ebooks service.

Speaking at the Digital Book World Conference today, Director of iBooks Keith Moerer revealed that iBooks has been seeing one million new users per week since the launch of iOS 8 and the iPhone 6 last September. Family Sharing in iOS 8 has also boosted iBooks engagement in recent months.

“Indie publishing is one of our biggest growth areas,” Moerer told the audience. He also said that TV and movie creators have been increasingly using iBooks Author as a means of offering free promotional content. The ebook creation tool was intended primarily for textbook use, but Apple has been unable to capture much traction in that market.

Moerer noted the overall slowdown in ebook sales, pointing out that it’s “something we’ve seen in other digital media businesses.” iTunes Music sales are down too, and Apple is rumored to preload Beats Music on iOS sometime this year.

“More of our book sales are coming from phones,” according to Moerer, which isn’t very surprising given the larger iPhone 6 and 6 Plus displays.

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