Amazon: E-books now outsell print books

Life

20 May 2011

It had to happen: Amazon.com announced Thursday it is selling more Kindle e-books than print books, either hardcover or paperback.

Amazon said since 1 April, it has been selling 105 Kindle e-books for every 100 print books. Free Kindle books are excluded from that count and if free books were included, the number would be even higher.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said the e-book threshold arrived sooner than expected. “Customers are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books,” he said. “We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly.” Amazon has sold print books for 15 years and Kindle books for less than four.

Amazon doesn’t share sales numbers, but said it had sold more than three times as many Kindles books thus far in 2011, as it had in the same period in 2010.

 

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The e-book surge is one of the biggest indicators of the impact of technology on culture, and the US’s public librarians have been careful observers of the trend for years. Many public libraries already offer e-book borrowing for free, subject to a library user loading special software on a desktop computer, mobile device or some e-book readers.

IDG News Service

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