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Kindle book sales overtake print at Amazon

by Mark Tyson on 6 August 2012, 13:30

Tags: Kindle reader

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Amazon.co.uk has said that just two years after launch purchases of eBooks for its Kindle reader are already outstripping sales of printed books. These unaudited figures, which don’t divulge much except for headline figures and ratios in the Amazon business, reveal that so far during 2012 Amazon.co.uk sold 114 eBooks for every 100 print books sold. “Customers in the UK are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books, even as our print business continues to grow” said Jorrit Van der Meulen, vice president, Kindle EU.

This sales ratio milestone was reached in the USA after four years of Kindle availability so Amazon is understandably happy about the relatively fast take-up by the British. The Amazon.co.uk press release also reveals some other interesting figures about the success of the Kindle platform;

  • Kindle readers buy four times the number of books as they did before acquiring a Kindle device
  • EL James is the Kindle Store number one author and sold 2 million eBooks in the last four months. “Her print and Kindle sales combined make her the #1 bestselling author of all time at Amazon.co.uk, eclipsing JK Rowling’s total sales. She is a former KDP author.” She is the author of recent bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey.
  • Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) authors get up to 70 per cent royalties for their works
  • KDP makes it easier for writers to get published bringing a 400 per cent increase in independent UK authors

Amazon knows how to sell and the million plus commercial Kindle eBooks are regularly promoted with discounts and daily deals. Half of the Kindle library is available at £3.99 or less. The service also offers magazine and newspaper subscriptions. Additionally there is a library of over a million free classic books Kindle users can download. Free eBooks aren’t included in the headline 114:100 figure above.

Kindle is available as software on nearly every smart connected device and PC/Mac so you so don’t need the special Kindle reader to use Amazon’s eBook store and delivery system. The Amazon hardware is very much tailored to the job with its special easy-on-the- retina E Ink display, very long battery life and portability.

Kindle hardware refresher

An entry level Kindle reader costs £89 in the UK. It has a 6-inch E Ink display which “reads like paper”, weighs only 170g and through built-in Wi-Fi can download books in under a minute. You can store up to 1,400 books on the reader; it turns on quickly and has a battery life of around one month. The software on the reader allows you to adjust text sizes and lookup words in the built-in dictionary.

HEXUS Forums :: 10 Comments

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As a reader of computer books, I cannot replace the physical media. I find it so much easier with the real thing than PDF or Kindle.
I'm a recent convert to a physical Kindle, (not being a fan of eInk screens redraw flashing - but I found a setting that flashes it less, so me and the Kindle get on ok now), I'm struck by how easy the whole purchase experience is - worryingly so (for my bank balance). For example, I was reading an old eReader.com purchase the other day that I bought in 2008 - discovered it was a 2 part work and within 5 minutes I had the next part purchased and installed on the Kindle.

Even better when I found a piece of software that let me convert my old eReader.com library into files that the Kindle could read - so that was another 70+ books I could access, some of which I couldn't buy from eReader.com today (thanks to Barnes and Nobles moronic geography restrictions).

Only thing I will say is that I wish that the quality of some of the conversions was better. I just finished one book and it was shot through with missplit words, spaces missing before after italic text, and some “interesting” typos.

As to the Kindle itself, I've got mine in a faux book cover (Klevercase) and it looks great. Just wish I had more control over the way that the books are presented (e.g. I've got a lot of Star Trek novels and it'd be handy to see which number in the set a particular books was - kind of like having a track id on a music album).

That said, I'm giving very serious consideration to trading back some of my sci-fi paperbacks to get money off of the digital versions - since the latter would be a lot easier to access than having to wade through closets, lofts, etc looking for that must-read volume!
I'll consider buying a Kindle when the price drops to about £25, and my local library service starts lending ebooks. Meanwhile I'll continue to obtain 95% of my books for free from said library service, with the remainder being impulse secondhand purchases for no more than 50p a book.

Summary:- I'll probably never own an ebook reader.
For something like a 700 page C++ reference book, there's just no replacing the physical, real thing - imho.
True, but it can be used as a reference /back up unit and the ability to carry lots of books with you all the time is a plus for the Kindle and other e-readers.