Kindle e-reader sales drive bumper Q4 revenues for Amazon

29 Jan 2010

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Amazon.com now sells six Kindle e-books for every 10 physical books and it is estimated that the company has sold more than 2.5 million units of the devices.

Last night, Amazon.com reported a 42pc increase in sales to US$9.5 billion compared with US$6.7 billion last year.

The company reported a 71pc increase in profits to US$384 million, up from US$225 million a year ago.

“Millions of people now own Kindles,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. “And Kindle owners read, a lot. When we have both editions, we sell six Kindle books for every 10 physical books.

“This is year-to-date and includes only paid books – free Kindle books would make the number even higher. It’s been an exciting 27 months,” Bezos said.

For the full year 2009, net sales increased 28pc to US$24.51 billion. Profits increased 40pc to US$902 million in 2009, or US$2.04 per diluted share, compared with net income of US$645 million, or US$1.49 per diluted share, in 2008.

Shipment of Kindle and Kindle DX e-readers

Kindle and Kindle DX e-readers are now available for immediate shipment to more than 100 countries. Additionally, the Kindle for iPhone App is now available from the Apple App Store in more than 60 countries. Customers around the world can now synchronise reading between their Kindle, Kindle DX, personal computer, iPhone, iPod touch and soon, Blackberry, Mac and iPad.

The US Kindle Store now has more than 410,000 books, including 100 of 112 New York Times best-sellers, more than 8,000 blogs, and more than 130 top US and international newspapers and magazines, including: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times (UK), Le Monde, The Economist, The New Yorker, Newsweek, and Time.

The company announced that authors and publishers around the world can now use the self-service Kindle Digital Text Platform (DTP) to upload and sell books in English, German and French to customers worldwide in the Kindle Store.

Amazon.com announced a new 70pc royalty option for Kindle DTP, enabling authors and publishers to earn more royalties. Beginning June 30, authors and publishers who select the new royalty option will receive 70pc of list price, net of delivery costs.

The company in recent weeks introduced the Kindle Development Kit, which gives developers access to programming interfaces, tools and documentation to build and upload active content for Kindle.

Worldwide media sales grew 29pc to $4.68 billion. Excluding the favourable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, sales grew 23pc.

By John Kennedy

Photo: The Kindle DX e-book reader

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com