Despite not having an e-ink screen, the Apple Tablet that’s expected to launch next week would supposedly compete with Amazon’s Kindle and B&N’s Nook.  If it’s going to stand a chance, there needs to be some way for publishers to get their content to a mass audience similar to an iTunes Music Store. Will we see the debut of the iTunes Bookstore?

Currently, Apple uses a 70/30 revenue model where 30% of each sale is retained and 70% goes to the developer/publisher.  Amazon Kindle’s revenue model is rumored to be the same for ebooks on which they have exclusivity but lowers to a 50/50 split on those available on other ebook stores like Barnes & Noble’s.  Obviously then publishers would have an incentive to head over to the iTunes model where they’re guaranteed a 70/30 share. There’s certainly plenty of money to be made pushing iTunes to control the third and final leg of media.

stevejobsRegarding the Kindle, Steve Jobs was quoted as saying, “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore.” Perhaps he meant in the traditional form?  More and more reading is done digitally.  Maybe he was downplaying the market suggesting that people don’t need a dedicated reading device like the Kindle.  These remarks alone should shatter the thought of ever seeing books appear in the iTunes Store. Fortunately, we’ve been seeing traditional media expressing interest in what might be their last hope; digital sales.

If Apple intends to do for the publishing industry what it did for the music industry, no time is better than now.  There’s tablet fever in the air with major manufacturers developing prototypes and publishers are looking for a way to monetize their content.  An iTunes bookstore could be the final piece to Apple’s iTunes content puzzle.

Do you think Apple will debut an ebook store?  Will they leave the publishing to app developers?  Share your predictions in the comments.