Perhaps signaling that it's getting more serious about selling e-books, Apple is in the process of hiring a U.S. marketing manager for its iBookstore.
The position is based in Cupertino and according to the job posting, "It will be this Manager's responsibility to drive awareness and sales of iBooks through co-marketing programs with publishers and authors, strategic partnerships, and via online and direct marketing tactics."
Apple is very specific about the type of person it wants. It says that, "The role requires an entrepreneurial self-starter with the creativity and enthusiasm to deliver innovative, impactful, and cost-effective programs to help build the iBooks business in the US. This skill set must be combined with the business acumen to drive partner marketing negotiations with publishers and media partners." Applicants must have a deep and thorough understanding of the publishing industry and the effective techniques of marketing books working with publishing houses.
Apple has sold over three million iPads and iBooks ranks near the top of the free iPad apps list. But with both Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook apps available for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, it's unclear how well the iBookstore is actually doing and anecdotal evidence from self-published authors suggests Apple has a lot of work to do to catch up to its rivals, particularly Amazon.
While Apple is facing a very competitive landscape in the U.S.--and it's a little surprising it hadn't filled such a key role sooner--it's worth noting that it's quietly making a push into the e-book market in countries around the world. Recently, it hired an iBookstore manager for the UK, Canada, and has posted job listings for managers in France and Germany, as well as Australia. As we know, Apple doesn't think small.