eBook Sales Eclipse Hardcovers at Amazon
Amazon today announced sales of Kindle books, digital books in its proprietary format, now outsell hardcover books. The ratio was 1.43 to 1 over the past three months.
Five authors have each sold more than 500,000 Kindle books, including Stephenie Meyer of Twilight series fame, Stieg Larsson whose bestsellers were published posthumously, and airport staples James Patterson, Nora Roberts and Charlaine Harris.
"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," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder and CEO.
According to the Association of American Publishers, paperbacks account for 56 percent of U.S. book sales compared to 35 percent for hardcover editions.
While Amazon did not disclose the numbers of books sold, the proportion of ebooks is significant. Amazon said that Kindle books had grown at a rate of 207 percent through May of this year.
Despite predictions that tablets like Apple's iPad would kill single-function ereaders like the Kindle, Bezos said Kindle unit sales have tripled since lowering the price from $259 to $189 last month, and the company has accelerating unit sales each month in the second quarter. The Kindle device is the No. 1 bestselling item on Amazon.com for two years running. It's also the most-wished-for, most-gifted, and has the most 5-star reviews of any product on Amazon.com.
Amazon has built a loyal fan base by offering more than 630,000 books, with over 510,000 of these books priced at $9.99 or less, including 75 New York Times Best Sellers. Over 1.8 million free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books are also available to read on Kindle. Competitors' have had difficulty matching Amazon's Kindle books selection and prices.
While Amazon's proprietary Kindle format cannot be read on competing ereader devices, Amazon released apps for Macs, PCs and most popular mobile devices including iPads, iPhones, BlackBerry phones and Android devices, expanding its potential reader pool.