Yes, Amazon sell more e-books than dead wood, but calm down

28 January 2011

KindleAmazon is the world's biggest online retailer of books, so when they announce they're now selling more e-books than paperbacks, that's something of a big deal. E-books started outselling hardbacks last year; now they're outselling all books.

According to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos:

"Since the beginning of the year, for every 100 paperback books Amazon has sold, the Company has sold 115 Kindle books. Additionally, during this same time period the Company has sold three times as many Kindle books as hardcover books."

It's obviously a milestone on the timeline of publishing, but while the rest of the intermaweb gets over-excited over the fact, it's worth bearing in mind the context of the figures.

First, this announcement covers the US store only, not worldwide sales; it's important to bear this in mind, since the Kindle was available in the US well before any other territory.

There's also the point that it's the Kindle that's driving these sales; the Kindle is Amazon's number one product right now and, with the exception of airports and the like, is only available to buy through Amazon. In other words, it's no surprise that Amazon are selling so many e-books, because the company is simply  satisfying the demands of its own consumer base.

The figures are impressive, but not ubiquitous - escalating e-book sales is a trend an process that will only gather momentum, but it's not the end of dead wood publishing just yet.

TOPICS:   Gadgets

15 comments

  • Andrew
    and they are pushing using this new press release to get more coverage of the Kindle and therefore sell more of them. They must be making a huge margin on ebooks compared to paper books!!
  • Dan
    Plus a awful lot of people will have got a e-reader for christmas and will be putting stuff on them. I'm sure the sales will slow down soon. Still pretty impressive though
  • Alexis
    How can you read on one of those things? And it looks like someone has taken a nicely typeset book and copied and pasted it into Word.
  • foobie
    I wonder how many of them are the free public domain books that are "sold" at amazon?
  • Phil76
    Be interesting to know if these numbers include the free downloads they give away. I've downloaded shedloads of freebys I'll probably never get round to reading, but haven't actually paid for that many. The ones I have paid for have all been crazily priced (they did a 99p promotion for Christmas). Bet there's not many full price downloads in their figures
  • Anthony
    "the Kindle is Amazon’s number one product right now and, with the exception of airports and the like, is only available to buy through Amazon." Slight correction. You can buy it in Currys (or Comet) stores now. Saw it in the Manchester Arndale Shopping Center last week.
  • Dave L.
    Its also worth noting that Amazon make Kindle apps available for iPhone, Android and I think the new Windows Phone 7, so that increeases that potenital market as well.
  • eldnik
    Reading on the Kindle is perfectly fine though interacting with it is a complete nightmare. On balance I prefer reading on the iPad though - petter rendering and nicer UI, though much heavier. However I am entirely puzzled anyone would download a kindle book in preference to the paperback as in so many cases the paperback is vastly cheaper and can be passed on when done. And there is VAT on e-books so sometimes they are more expensive than the hardback. Complete rip off, particularly as most of the ebooks are not even converted properly and you get bizarre hyphenation in the middle of pages and shit like that.
  • Richard
    So for every 115 kindle books they sell 100 paperbacks And, as they sell three times as many k.b.'s as hardbacks, for every 115 k.b.'s they sell 115/3=38 hardbacks. Meaning they sell 100+38= 138 books for every 115 kindle books... Now what's wrong with the title of this article...? :-P
  • Rumplestiltskin
    So they sell more eBooks than real books in America? I once knew a retard who preferred the internet to books because he liked pressing the buttons. You could also use a Kindle whilst firing a gun or eating a hamburger.
  • Jen
    I love my Kindle, I find myself reading so much more now that I have it with me all the time. My eyes are so happy with the reflective screen, especially for reading by lamplight before I fall asleep.
  • Lisa W.
    i so prefer a reading a paperback or hard cover book than an ebook - mind you if I was to print off the ebook then I would be happy to read it. Just not able to sit and read from a computer screen for long periods of time. Interesting facts that you worked out about amazon selling more ebooks than dead wood - maybe I am old fashioned but I so prefer dead wood!! Cheers Lisa
  • E-books p.
    [...] Source: Bitter Wallet [...]
  • Best&Original
    I simply love books in paper, the smell of ink and paper fiber, the feeling of warmth in my hands... but... I have to admit e-books on an electronic reader are much more comfortable and easy to carry when travelling. I do not enjoy reading on my computer and do not have a kindle or any other e-reader, but would I like one? Oh yes, I definitely would!!!
  • Julienne H.
    I like this locale much, this is the sovereignty where i can desist from smth from me, a level of piece this is what i like.

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