For things like printers, it’s long been said that it’s all about the consumables (meaning ink, paper) when it comes to profits. Much the same can be said of e-books, and on Tuesday Amazon.com issued a press release stating that they’ve “reached a tipping point,” and now see more e-books sold than hardbacks.
The company also believes they’ve reached the sweet spot with regards to the Kindle’s current price, which was dropped from $259 to $189 recently. Of course, we all know (or at least, suspect) that was a result of the remarkable success of the iPad. Here’s what Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said:
“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. 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.”
The following data points, from Amazon’s press release, are very interesting, including the fact that the e-book sales exceed hardbacks, even though there are many books that do not come in Kindle form (right now, there are 630,000 books).
- Over the past three months, for every 100 hardcover books Amazon.com has sold, it has sold 143 Kindle books. Over the past month, for every 100 hardcover books Amazon.com has sold, it has sold 180 Kindle books. This is across Amazon.com’s entire U.S. book business and includes sales of hardcover books where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher.
- Amazon sold more than 3x as many Kindle books in the first half of 2010 as in the first half of 2009.
- The Association of American Publishers’ latest data reports that e-book sales grew 163 percent in the month of May and 207 percent year-to-date through May. Kindle book sales in May and year-to-date through May exceeded those growth rates.
- On July 6, Hachette announced that James Patterson had sold 1.14 million e-books to date. Of those, 867,881 were Kindle books.
- Five authors–Charlaine Harris, Stieg Larsson, Stephenie Meyer, James Patterson, and Nora Roberts–have each sold more than 500,000 Kindle books.
These are great results, and of course include Kindle books downloaded and used on the apps on various smartphone platforms (like iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Mac, and PC).
Right now, however, whenever we (and many others) search for books at Apple’s iBook store, we generally don’t find them. When that changes, will Amazon.com see a loss of sales? Time will tell.