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Amazon: Kindle books now outselling hardcovers

updated 05:15 pm EDT, Mon July 19, 2010

Amazon hits milestone as e-reader overtakes paper

Kindle e-books are now outselling hardcover books for the first time, Amazon said today. For every 100 hardcovers it sold in the spring, Amazon sold 143 Kindle titles; the figure didn't include free books or samples. Sales accelerated over the period, Amazon said: its rate in June increased to 180 e-books for every 100 hardcover texts.

The company didn't mention paperback sales, which for now are still higher. It added that Kindle device sales were "growing," but it didn't say by how much. Amazon has often been vague with hardware sales and will only ever say it has sold "millions" of Kindles since launching in late 2007.

Amazon's timing for the milestone came the same quarter as when Apple launched the iPad and may have been spurred on by the availability of a universal iPad and iPhone app that gave many new buyers a Kindle reader. The iOS app is also technically superior to Amazon's own reader, as it supports audio and video along with color and touch, and may have lured those who were either new to e-reading or who wanted an upgrade from its grayscale rival. Amazon didn't track which devices were being used to read, but studies of users have suggested iPad owners are buying in place of other e-readers.

Sales weren't likely spiked by Amazon's own device strategy, as it only chose to slash the Kindle's price to $189 nine days before the end of the quarter; Amazon called it a "tipping point" but didn't illustrate the effects. Kindle DX numbers may have been hurt further, as the $489 price put it just $10 away from Apple's tablet. However, it only cut the price to $379 on July 1, a day after the quarter ended.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. TomSawyer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008

    +1

    Amazon didn't say wi

    whether Hardcover sales went down at all, but that e-book sales went up. This could be made up of "entirely new" purchases, but my guess is that e-book sales are coming almost entirely from pilfered paperback sales. Hardcover buyers are usually collectors vs paperback readers who are just consumers and can "feed their need" through any means (electronic or otherwise).



    Nice PR spin Amazon- "We didn't lose paperback sales so much as gained e-book purchases."

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: Amazon didn't say

    Hardcover buyers are usually collectors vs paperback readers who are just consumers and can "feed their need" through any means (electronic or otherwise).



    Really, and here I thought hard cover buyers were those who've gots to read it NOW, regardless of price, while paperback buyers were generally cheap-skates just waiting for the second-wave of printing to come along. Like those who buy DVDs when they're released vs. those who wait 6-12 months.



    Nice PR spin Amazon- "We didn't lose paperback sales so much as gained e-book purchases."



    Um, you need to go and look up Amazon's business.



    First, it's about selling books. They really don't care much if you buy hard cover, paper back, audio, etc. They just want you to buy from them.



    Second, Amazon is trying to turn Kindle into an iTunes Music of the 2010 era. They actually WANT people to buy Kindle books. So if they are cannibalizing other sales, they are all for it.



    Third, look at the average price of a paperback vs. the price of a Kindle book. The paperback usually costs the same or less. So, in essence, if they are cannibalizing their paper back sales, they are MAKING MORE MONEY! Add in no need for storage and free shipping, and they are even happier. (They'd be even happier if you didn't use WhisperNet to download the books).



    But, you're right, except for the fact that they are touting their own service's increased success, that they're making more money, and that people seem to really start getting into the whole 'digital book' thing, they really did need to spin that.



  1. WiseWeasel

    Junior Member

    Joined: Apr 1999

    +4

    *On Amazon*

    They're outselling hardcover books on Amazon.com, not in general. Many more hardcovers are still sold in the US than e-books.

  1. CmdrGampu

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2009

    +1

    Serious question

    Are most books even released in hardback editions anymore? Almost all of the books I've been interested in in the last few years were straight to trade paperback or mass market paperback. For instance, I can't remember the last time I saw a computer book in hardcover.

  1. rombe3jr

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2010

    0

    Kindle For Sale

    My mother in law is selling her Kindle. When she got her iPad she said she would keep her Kindle for reading books. Now she says the iPad is too nice of a reading experience to use the kindle anymore. The only downside is that the iBookstore doesn't have as much selection as Kindle yet, so she does use the Kindle App for some eBooks.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +2

    Re: Serious question

    Are most books even released in hardback editions anymore? Almost all of the books I've been interested in in the last few years were straight to trade paperback or mass market paperback.

    Most new books in the fiction and non-fiction category are sold in hard cover.

    For instance, I can't remember the last time I saw a computer book in hardcover.

    That's not the type of books that anyone cares about in terms of covers. They care about content. Plus they have generally a short shelf life, so there's no need to try 'two releases'.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: Kindle For Sale

    The only downside is that the iBookstore doesn't have as much selection as Kindle yet, so she does use the Kindle App for some eBooks.

    Why is that a downside? If anything, isn't that the upside? She has choice, and a lot more from the Kindle store than the AppStore. Or are you one of those "I must buy everything I can from Apple!" people?

    In fact, the Kindle books are a better buy, for no other reason then you aren't constrained to the device you read them on. In fact, you can read them on your computer. iBooks are restricted to iDevices sold by Apple, nothing else.

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