Amazon: eBooks outsell hardback books
Amazon.com has sold more eBooks than hardback books for the first time ever.
The online retailer sold three times as many eBooks over the past three months than it did over the same quarter last year, shifting 143 digital copies for every 100 hardback books sold. In the past month, that ratio climbed to 180 – and that doesn’t include free books that are out of copyright.
It’s astonishing when you consider that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years, and Kindle books for 33 months
“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, CEO of Amazon.com.
Bezos noted that hardbacks aren’t in decline, as sales have also grown over the period.
Forrester analyst James McQuivey said it’s no surprise Amazon customers have turned to eBooks, as they’re reading fans who have some tech savvy.
“But before we write the eulogy of the hardback book, we need to realise that this is just Amazon’s customer base,” he said. “We’ll know that hardbacks are really in trouble when Barnes & Noble announces the same thing among its customers, most of whom buy in bookstores where hardbacks are prominently displayed and promoted.”
McQuivey said it’ll still be some time before eBooks completely out-rank their paper counterparts, in hardcover or paperback. Forrester surveys in the US show eBook owners read four out of ten books in digital form, with that expected to jump to 50% by next year.
“But these people only make up less than a tenth of the population so it will take several more years for paperbacks to take second place behind eBooks,” McQuivey predicted.
Amazon.com’s statistics also showed its eBook reader price war with rivals Sony and Barnes & Noble was paying off.
Last month, Amazon cut the cost of its eBook readers, dropping the Kindle to $189. Unsurprisingly, lower prices has lead to a jump in sales.
“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 Bezos.
While the uptick in device sales likely helped eBook sales, Amazon also offers a Kindle app for the iPhone, iPad and other mobile devices.