Jason Kincaid of TechCrunch points out this week that no fewer than 27,000 apps in the iTunes AppsStore are books or book readers. Many of them are classics, in multiple editions, and most of them offer a reading experience far inferior to the leading multi-book apps such as Kindle for iPhone and Stanza. I’ve never really understood why these one-book apps should be so popular, but clearly people buy them or they wouldn't be there.
The market is evolving and attention is moving to well-designed apps that provide access to an on-line bookstore. The Kindle store is excellent, as I have mentioned repeatedly, and iBookstore from Apple is likely to be just as good, if not better. Where that leaves all these thousands of uncoordinated single-book apps I am not sure. Jason suggests a cull might be in the offing once Apple move into books in a big way. He rightly points out that iPad owners will be confused. They will have a choice between the iBookstore and the Apps Store and it’s quite likely that they will search the App Store and download a book thinking that it can be read on the iPad's iBooks application.
It will be preferable, I think, if the App Store can be restricted to book reader applications (such as iBooks, Kindle or Stanza) which can access book stores and provide a big choice of material. I really don't see the need for one-book applications that clutter the home screens and offer no expansion.