Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kindle Sales Beat Hardcover Book Sales

This should be no surprise to anyone that electronic book sales by Kindle outsold its hardcover sales at Amazon. This is what technological change does. If anything, the biggest surprise may be how quickly it took for this change to occur. According to Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, Kindle has been selling for less than 3 years while Amazon has been selling hardcover books for over 15 years. "In the past three months, 143 Kindle books were sold for every 100 hardcovers, but when that time frame is narrowed to a month, it's 180 Kindle books for every 100 hardcovers. Total e-book sales tripled from the first half of 2009 to the first half of 2010."

But let's be clear. While this news shouldn't be surprising it should also be looked at more closely. The news is strictly about Amazon sales and doesn't look at the sale of paperback books. Overall paperback book sales have always been stronger than hardcover. The Kindle numbers also include free downloads, so a sale to sale relationship is not being measured. In addition, book sales are still growing for hardcover so it is not spelling disaster for books just yet. For most, the news is most likely meant to show that Amazon's Kindle is not losing the battle to other e-book readers, most notably, the iPad. And yet, Kindle continues to lower its price to compete so competition is clearly forefront on their mind.

So congrats to Kindle on a successful run. But keep innovating. It's time for a color monitor and more ergonomic features. It's time to look sleeker and more hi tech. Otherwise, your success might be short-lived.