updated 10:30 am EDT, Thu May 19, 2011
Amazon e-book sales outpace all print
Amazon marked a historic event for itself on Thursday after revealing that Kindle e-books were now outselling all forms of print combined. The switch came just four months after digital overtook paperback and less than a year after they began outselling hardcovers. Since the start of April, Amazon has been moving 105 paid Kindle books for every 100 paper title and would be higher if it included public domain books.
The performance was also quick even within Kindle books by themselves. Amazon has managed to sell three times as many Kindle books so far in 2011 as it had at the same point in 2010. Its UK store, the only one to have a country-specific shop outside of the US, has also started reaching its own milestones with e-books overtaking hardcovers by a factor of two to one.
Such growth has been partly helped by the rise of the ad-sponsored Kindle, whose $114 price helped put it at the top of the electronics bestsellers about a month after its mid-April appearance.
The company's success may still have put it in a difficult relationship with Apple. Kindle books are widely known to be the most popular e-books on the iPad and would theoretically clash with Apple's new in-app purchasing rules that demand any content sales go through iTunes with a 30 percent cut on top of whatever that provider is offering. An FTC investigation and Amazon's financial influence may be keeping the Kindle app unaltered on the iPad. Leaks have emerged, though, that Amazon is hedging against possible resistance and is making Android-based tablets that would give it a platform it could control more directly.