Apple Bidding To Sponsor Orange Prize For Fiction?
According to the Sunday Telegraph, Apple has been talking to the organizers behind the (formerly) Orange Prize for Fiction. Apple isn't alone - 18 companies have expressed interest in the sponsorship, but Apple's has been the most advanced. One issue for Apple getting the sponsorship might be to do with the price-fixing case that's still going on and will do so until June 2013. If found guilty, that will be a major blip on Apple's rep in the ebook scene.
The sponsorship might seem strange at first; why would Apple want to sponsor a fiction prize? Well, the company does run the iBookstore, a e-book store for iOS devices. Also, Apple still needs to try with the iBookstore - this isn't like with music, where the iTunes store was the first on the market, and instantly became popular. This time Amazon holds the popularity card and Apple needs to play catch up. The e-book market is a new environment for all players; no one yet has a secure position in the market. Apple wants to become the name you think of when you think of ebooks, much like iTunes.
According to TechRadar.com, Paid Content has done some number crunching and found that 1.5 million book downloads (as claimed by Apple in the first six months) was roughly 1.5 book downloads/device and that doesn't show paid vs free. By those numbers, iBookstore is not doing great but certainly isn't in trouble either.