Friday, January 28, 2011

Amazon's Kindle E-book Sales Surpass Sales of Paperbacks

Amazon has just announced that their digital book sales on have overtaken the sales of their paperback books. The company also reported that for the fourth quarter of 2010 it had a 36 percent increase in its net sales. This is definitely some interesting and exciting news for Amazon.

However, despite the fantastic sales numbers reported by Amazon, their stock went down about 9 percent. According to Wall Street, the issue was that Amazon’s growth was completely expected.

Amazon’s chief financial officer Tom Szkutak said during a conference call that the revenues that Amazon reported for the fourth quarter were the strongest numbers in the company’s history since 2000. The company reported a net income of $416 million for the fourth quarter and a net sale of $12.95 billion. On a year-to-year basis, Amazon’s net income has increased 8 percent, while its revenues went up a whole 36 percent.

As I said, the sales of digital books at have passed the sales of paperback books, but it’s not by a whole lot. Since the start of the new year, Amazon has sold 115 Kindle books for every 100 paperback books. The company also reported that since January 1, it has sold three times as many Kindle books as hardcover books. Amazon made sure to mention that this information was coming from “across's entire U.S. book business and includes sales of books where there is no Kindle edition." The company also said that Kindle books that were free were excluded from the numbers.

So far, the company has not revealed the number of Kindles that have been sold. Some predict that Amazon probably sold more than 8 million Kindles in 2010, but who really knows? The company did say though that during the fourth quarter, it sold “millions” of its Amazon Kindles with the new Pearl screen.

"Thanks to our customers, we achieved two big milestones," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of, in a statement. "We had our first $10 billion quarter, and after selling millions of third-generation Kindles with the new Pearl e-ink display during the quarter, Kindle books have now overtaken paperback books as the most popular format on Last July we announced that Kindle books had passed hardcovers and predicted that Kindle would surpass paperbacks in the second quarter of this year, so this milestone has come even sooner than we expected - and it's on top of continued growth in paperback sales."

Amazon doesn’t really seem too eager to report their numbers concerning the Kindle all of the time, but the company did report that there are currently 810,000 books in the Kindle Store. That number doesn’t even include the millions of free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books that are also available e-books for the Kindle.

Things seem to be going pretty well for Amazon. They have some up and coming projects that they are currently working on that should boost their numbers even higher. Szkutak declined to comment on Amazon's plans for Lovefilm. Lovefilm is being kind of described as Europe's version of Netflix. "Stay tuned on that one," Szutak said.

Szutak also declined to say anything about whether or not Amazon was planning on expanding its local grocery delivery system that they are doing a trial run of in Seattle called Amazon Fresh.

Amazon says that it really expects to grow somewhere between 28 and 39 percent in the first quarter.

All of these latest developments for Amazon are definitely exciting. It’s still pretty incredible that Kindle e-books outsold paperback books, but I guess this is beginning to look like a very bright future for Amazon, as well as other e-book providers.

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