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« Amazon Kindle eBooks outselling print books

Geez, I thought it might take another year or two, but Amazon says their unit sales of Kindle ebooks (which can be read on the Kindle devices, computers, tablets and smartphones) have passed their unit sales of print books, by 5% for the period since the beginning of April.

Amazon Kindle image

Amazon Kindle

Now, of course this is just Amazon and not all retailers, and it’s unit sales rather than dollars, but then again, these figures do not include ebooks Amazon “sells” for free, either. However you slice it, it is still a major milestone. Unlike PC Magazine’s John C Dvorak, I do generally believe the numbers, but unlike Mr Dvorak I also see Kindles on every flight I take, and every bus I ride to and from work. Dvorak makes a big deal of the possibility much of this content is being read on other devices besides Kindles per se, which (as I said last summer) misses the point. The Kindle is good for Amazon because Kindle users are locked into Amazon’s (Kindle-​branded) ebook sales, but as long as people buy the Kindle ebooks from Amazon, it’s no skin off Amazon’s nose what device they get read on. The profits are on the content sale, not the reading devices.

I rather expect that retail books as a whole will pass this milestone some time in 2012. We are living in the proverbial interesting times.

One commentto “Amazon Kindle eBooks outselling print books”

  • June 2, 2011
    Richard Fink wrote

    >Dvorak makes a big deal of the possibility much of this content is being read on other devices besides Kindles… which misses the point.

    Yes, it absolutely misses the point. It’s clear that the “Kindle” is and was conceived as an ebook delivery service that would target as many devices and platforms as Amazon could reach.
    It’s primaty nature as a service was obscured because Amazon initially targeted it’s own hardware device and sold it under the name “Kindle”.
    Dvorak might still be having a conceptual problem with this: unable to distinguish the forest from the trees.

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