People love their iPhone apps — after all, Apple (s aapl) has sold over a billion of them since it launched the phone. And a big proportion of those apps are games. But you know what else a growing number of people love to have on their iPhone? Books. According to Mobclix, which does mobile advertising for apps, the number of books in the iTunes store now exceeds the number of games for the first time since the device was launched, making books the largest category in the store. The numbers from Mobclix, which keeps a regular tally on the most popular apps and downloads, show that there are more than 26,000 books in iTunes, compared with a little over 24,000 games.
This fits in with something Om wrote recently based on data from Flurry, which also showed a substantial increase in the number of books being downloaded to the iPhone. At the time, Flurry said that Apple was “positioned to take market share from the Amazon Kindle” for book reading, despite the small size of the display, and that “with Apple working on a larger tablet form factor, running on the iPhone OS, we believe Jeff Bezos and team will face significant competition.” That larger form-factor device, of course, will soon be available under the name iPad, and it looks like an even better book reader than the iPhone.
In many ways, the popularity of the iPhone as an e-book reader has created a ton of momentum for Apple when it comes to launching the iPad, which as some have pointed out looks like a much larger version of the phone or its cousin the iPod touch. Having grown used to reading books on a smaller device, it will probably seem pretty natural to trade that in for a larger unit that makes books look even better, and the tendency will likely be to gravitate towards something that looks and feels familiar (and is a full-color touchscreen) as opposed to something like the Kindle.
Having downloaded and read many books on the iPhone myself, through e-book apps such as the Kindle one, Stanza (which Amazon (s amzn) acquired last year) and Classics, I’ve grown quite used to reading them on the device, despite its small size. But I’d be happy to have something that functioned the same way with a bit more real estate, and I’m sure many e-book fans would share that feeling.
Related reports from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):
Evolution of the e-Book Market
Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user striatic