Hardcover books have a lot going against them — they’re expensive, often unwieldy, easily damaged. And now Amazon.com, which first made its name by selling books at deep discounts online, says it sells significantly more titles for its Kindle e-reader than it does in hardcover.
Quoth Jeff Bezos, King of the Amazon:
The Kindle format has now overtaken the hardcover format… Astonishing when considering that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years and Kindle books for 33 months.
According to Bezos, the site sells 143 Kindle books for every 100 hardcovers it sell. Amazon didn’t release specific sales or revenue figures, nor did they say how Kindle books were doing in comparison to paperback sales.
A big factor in the recent uptick in e-book sales for Amazon was likely its decision to drop the price on the Kindle to $189 earlier this summer, sparked by the introduction of Apple’s iPad and the price cut on Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader. With the price cut, the device can now reach a wider audience, which in turn leads to more e-book sales.
One analyst tells the L.A. Times that Amazon has nothing to fear from the iPad audience just yet:
There’s a real perception that the iPad has completely squashed the e-reader space, and that’s really not the case… Amazon is doing really well and both companies can profit at the same time.