Kindle Books Sales Eclipse Hardcovers for First Time
At eReaderChat.com, we’re obviously big believers in the future of eBooks. While a few mainstream media outlets here and there share our vision of a paperless future, I think the consensus amongst the general public is still that eBooks and eReaders will continue to represent merely a small chunk of the larger book retailer pie. I’m here to tell you that this is not the case.
In a statement released by Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Amazon revealed that for the first time, sales of books in the Kindle format have exceeded those sold in the hardcover format. According to the metrics they released, for every 100 hardcover books Amazon has sold, they have sold 143 Kindle books. In just the last month, since they slashed the price of the Kindle 2 to $189, that ratio has gone up to 180 Kindle books for every 100 hardcover books sold.
“We’ve reached a tipping point with the new price of Kindle–the growth rate of Kindle device unit sales has tripled since we lowered the price from $259 to $189,” said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon.com. “In addition, even while our hardcover sales continue to grow, the Kindle format has now overtaken the hardcover format. 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.”
Of course, as with any corporate announcement of this sort, which is generally made for the benefit of the company’s share price, you have to take it with a grain of salt. Amazon very deliberately did not release any specific numbers about either their hardcover sales or their Kindle book sales. They stuck mostly to vague ratios, such as noting that three times as many Kindle books were sold in the first half of 2010 as compared to the same period in 2009.
What’s more, comparing overall Kindle book sales to hardcover sales is a little disingenuous. After all, the category “Kindle Books” encompasses more than two million titles in all, and includes nearly all the paperback titles you’re liable to find gracing the shelves of your local book retailer. Hardcover books, by contrast, usually only run for the first year of the life of a book, and are much more expensive than the $9.99 one expects to spend for a Kindle book.
Having made my semantic point, this is obviously still tremendous news for Amazon. With the Kindle 2 finally starting to reach a price point where it can enjoy mainstream success, and their Kindle App present on just about every mobile device under the sun, including Apple’s iPad, it’s clear that the future of eBooks for Amazon is quite bright.