Kindle e-books are outselling hardcover books by almost 50%, according to Amazon. For the past three months, Amazon has sold 143 Kindle books for every 100 dead-tree books. Paperbacks are not included in these figures. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos:
Amazon.com customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books—astonishing when you consider that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years, and Kindle books for 33 months.
This has accelerated in the last month, with Amazon shifting 180 Kindle copies for every 100 hardbacks, and this is due to the price drop which saw the Kindle go from an expensive $260 to an affordable $190. Breaking the magic $200 mark has caused Kindle sales to rocket. Bezos again: “The growth rate of Kindle device unit sales has tripled since we lowered the price from $259 to $189.”
While the “growth rate of unit sales” is far too cryptic a metric to go buy (note that the actual sales have not tripled) it shows that people are ready for e-books and e-readers, if they are priced right. It also shows that they completely disregard the big advantage of the paper book: buy it and it is yours. Whereas a Kindle book is pretty much still the property of Amazon, and can be deleted from afar whenever it likes, a paper book can be lent, resold and used to prop up a wobbly table.
The same limitations never held up the iTunes MP3 store, however. And the fact that you can read your Kindle books on almost any platform certainly helps to hide these problems. One thing is certain: with the number of e-book-capable screens we carry around today, it won’t be long before the paperbacks also fall into a minority market.
Kindle Device Unit Sales Accelerate Each Month in Second Quarter [Amazon. Thanks, Kinley!]
Photo: Charlie Sorrel