Amazon.com E-Book Sales Exceed Hardcovers for First Time
Amazon.com Inc., the largest Internet retailer, said growth in sales of its Kindle digital reader accelerated every month in the second quarter and that it’s selling more electronic books than hardcover editions.
The pace of Kindle sales also has tripled since the company cut the price to $189 from $259, Amazon.com Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos said in a statement.
Announced last month, the 27 percent price cut was aimed at helping Amazon.com fend off a threat from Apple Inc.’s iPad, which includes book reading tools. Amazon.com hasn’t disclosed Kindle sales since releasing the device in 2007, saying only that it has sold millions. Its release of growth figures may be aimed at quelling concern that the iPad has crimped Kindle demand, said Dmitriy Molchanov, an analyst at Yankee Group.
“There’s a real perception that the iPad has completely squashed the e-reader space and that’s really not the case,” said Molchanov, who’s based in Boston. “Amazon is doing really well and both companies can profit at the same time.”
Amazon.com sold more than triple the number of Kindle books in the first half of the year as it did in the same period last year, Seattle-based Amazon.com said. More than 81 percent of its 630,000 electronic books are $9.99 or less.
“We’ve reached a tipping point with the new price of Kindle,” Bezos said in the statement. “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.”
Amazon.com rose $1.45 to $119.94 today in Nasdaq Stock Market trading, trimming the year-to-date decline to 11 percent.
Apple said last month that it sold 3 million iPads in 80 days after the device’s April 3 release date. Amazon.com will probably sell 3.7 million Kindles this year, bringing in $2.38 billion in sales, according to estimates by Caris & Co. The figure assumes Kindle owners also purchase digital books.
In the past three months, Amazon.com has sold 143 Kindle books for every 100 hardcover books, the company said. In July, sales of e-books accelerated to 180 sold for every 100 hardcover versions. Kindle book sales this year have also exceeded broader e-book sales growth, pegged by the Association of American Publishers at 207 percent through May, Amazon.com said.
To fend off competition from Apple and Sony Corp., which also makes e-readers, this month Amazon.com released a version of its larger Kindle DX with sharper contrast and cut its price by more than $100. It plans to introduce an updated version of its smaller Kindle next month with a sharper screen as well, people familiar with the matter said in May.
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