Amazon.com Inc., the largest online retailer, said sales of electronic books have overtaken those of printed versions for the first time, a sign of the growing dominance of its Kindle digital reader.
Amazon now sells 105 electronic books for every 100 printed ones, the Seattle-based company said today in a statement. The pace of U.S. book sales this year is the fastest the company has seen in more than a decade, Amazon said.
The retailer, which got its start in 1995 as an online bookseller, has since expanded into thousands of products, selling everything from DVDs to baby clothes. The company’s e-book business has been growing steadily since introducing the Kindle in 2007. Sales of e-books surpassed hardcover titles in July, and overtook paperbacks six months later.
“We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly,” Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive officer, said in the statement.
Consumers can read Amazon’s e-books on one of its four Kindle readers, priced from $114 to $379, as well as on smartphones, tablets and personal computers.
Amazon may have sold more than 8 million Kindles last year, accounting for about 5 percent of sales, according to Benchmark Co. Amazon doesn’t disclose Kindle sales figures, other than saying it’s the company’s best-selling product.
Amazon rose $1.72, or less than 1 percent, to $198.81 at 4 p.m. New York time in trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares have climbed 10 percent this year.