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E-Books May Have Finally Found Their Tipping Point

While many have speculated and tried looking into crystal balls to see if e-readers would ever find their niche, it seems that the actual sales of the devices and their resulting e-book content have been climbing to a point that seems to imply they already have.

Amazon announced yesterday that sales of Kindle edition books has been skyrocketing compared to hardcover books.  Of course, no mention is made of sales compared to paperbacks, but the numbers are still fairly impressive.

kindle

  • Over the past three months, for every 100 hardcover books Amazon.com has sold, it has sold 143 Kindle books. Over the past month, for every 100 hardcover books Amazon.com has sold, it has sold 180 Kindle books. This is across Amazon.com’s entire U.S. book business and includes sales of hardcover books 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 in the first half of 2010 as in the first half of 2009.
  • The Association of American Publishers’ latest data reports that e-book sales grew 163 percent in the month of May and 207 percent year-to-date through May. Kindle book sales in May and year-to-date through May exceeded those growth rates.
  • On July 6, Hachette announced that James Patterson had sold 1.14 million e-books to date. Of those, 867,881 were Kindle books.
  • Five authors–Charlaine Harris, Stieg Larsson, Stephenie Meyer, James Patterson, and Nora Roberts–have each sold more than 500,000 Kindle books.

While the press release mentions that the sales are across the board for not only the physical Kindle, but also all of the various apps for phones and the iPad, it would be interesting to know how many of these are on the actual e-reader the company sells.  I would also love to know how many books the average customer purchases.  Are these sales made up of people buying lots of books, or is it a lot of people buying one book to try out the app on their iPad and other devices?

While there is no word on how other e-readers such as the Barnes & Noble Nook are performing, our guess would be that the Kindle is in the lead simply because it has become synonymous with e-readers.  If this is indeed a trend across the entire e-reader space, then you really do have to wonder how long it will be before hardcovers become a rarity as opposed to filling the tables near the front doors of bookstores.

What say you?  Are you ready to just go completely to e-readers?


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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