While dropping the price of its Kindle e-book reader to US$189, online retailer Amazon.com also dropped a bomb on the publishing world, announcing that its sales of digital formats were outperforming hardcover books, with e-book sales up 300pc on last year.
For the past three months, for every 100 hardcovers Amazon sells, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says 143 e-books are sold. For the past month, this has risen to 180 e-books for every hardcover sold.
Bezos said: “While our hardcover sales continue to grow, the Kindle format has now overtaken the hardcover format.
“Amazon.com customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books – astonishing when you consider that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years, and Kindle books for 33 months.”
Although market observers have expected the arrival of the iPad and its iBooks platform to have a negative impact on the sale of the Amazon Kindle e-book reader, this appears not to be the case.
However, the sales of high volumes of e-books does not necessarily indicate that the Kindle device is doing equally well because the past year has seen Amazon releasing a Kindle desktop application for the PC and Mac, as well as a Kindle app for the iPhone, BlackBerry and Android devices.
Although Amazon does not give any official figures on the volume of Kindle devices sold we can assume that a percentage of these e-book downloads were for other devices supporting the Amazon e-book format.