Saturday, January 29, 2011
Kindle outsells paperbacks
Considering the bargain-basement pricing of many kindle books, it was inevitable that the time would come when kindle sales would overtake paperback sales, and even those of remaindered hardbacks.
For exactly the same reason, it is no surprise that the surge has had a nasty impact on the company spreadsheet. As Amazon also says, profits have plunged.
Total sales were up to a tad under thirteen billion dollars for the fourth quarter of 2010, up 36% from last year's report. But operating income declined by $2 million, descending to $474 million.
The company says they sold "millions of third-generation Kindles" in the quarter, and indicates "Kindle books have now overtaken paperback books as the most popular format on Amazon.com" and "this milestone has come even sooner than we expected - and it's on top of continued growth in paperback sales." The company adds that, "since the beginning of the year, for every 100 paperback books Amazon has sold, the company has sold 115 Kindle books."
The data is unclear, or so the pundits say, but it seems abundantly clear to this economic amateur that kindle sales and books sales are rising due to lower prices. What is murky is whether it heralds a sea-change in the reading habits of the public.