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Open Question: Are we at the ebook tipping point?

It's official — Kindle books are outselling print books.

questionmarkIn a news release today, Amazon announced that Kindle book sales are outpacing sales of hardcover and paperback book sales combined. The release included several interesting statistics:

  • Since April 1, for every 100 print books Amazon.com has sold, it has sold 105 Kindle books. This includes sales of hardcover and paperback books by Amazon where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher.
  • Amazon sold more than 3x as many Kindle books so far in 2011 as it did during the same period in 2010.
  • Less than one year after introducing the UK Kindle Store, Amazon.co.uk is now selling more Kindle books than hardcover books, even as hardcover sales continue to grow. Since April 1, Amazon.co.uk customers are purchasing Kindle books over hardcover books at a rate of more than 2 to 1.

These stats beg the question: Are we at the ebook tipping point?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.


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Comments: 4

  1. I find the clarity of Amazon’s announcement to be telling. Previous announcements often included murky bits (e.g. “Kindle books are outselling print books where there’s a Kindle edition available …”). This release, however, is pretty bold.

    This threshold feels important as well. I do think from this point forward we’ll see even greater ebook growth. So while we still have a ways to go before ebooks become the dominant format, I imagine we’ll look back and mark this announcement as a key moment in the trajectory.

    I also think the success of Kindle editions is a clear signal that Amazon was smart to recalibrate its Kindle approach. I’ve never been a fan of Kindle, the device, but Kindle as a platform is incredibly cool — it’s everywhere I need it to be.

  2. I still find it funny that the two voracious readers I know don’t like ebooks, and my sister (a very bursty reader) sold her nook to go back to paper and library.

    OTOH, when I was on a cruise in January, the ebook readers were ubiquitous.

  3. To me, the telling point is the growing number of ebooks on Amazon that are MORE expensive than the print version.

  4. Being a techy I’m pretty sure I’d fall in love with a Kindle if I got my hands on one…but there is something about manhandling an old paperback that I’m not sure I can do without…paperbooks have a nice smell too.