Amazon's E-Books Outsell Hardcovers for the 2nd Quarter
By Tom McKinney
E-books are enjoying a wave of growth as new devices like Apple's iPad and its competitors provide a great platform for a potential rebirth in reading for the future. Spurred also by price cuts to many of the leading E-Readers (see my article last month about Amazon and Barnes & Noble's price war), and by cheaper pricing page per page versus hardcover books, Amazon.com announced earlier this month that for the entire second quarter, their Kindle e-books had outsold hardcovers by a margin of 143 to 100. And that wasn't all; the pace has also been accelerating - the last month they sold closer to 180 e-books for every 100 hardbacks. And finally, it's overall rate of e-book sales for the first six months of 2010 has been more than three times that of 2009.
I've been watching the news and reading articles trying to make sense of it all. Many publications in the media seem to have equated the term "hardcover" to mean hard copy. I've seen the two replaced as if they were synonyms. Sadly, they are not. Last year, Publisher's Weekly projected hardcover sales to be about $4.4 billion in 2009, while paperbacks were expected to generate $5.1B. In that same Weekly report, e-books were anticipated to produce about $81 million in 2009. Not exactly a fox in a henhouse, though, the fox is looking more and more like a lion! And, there is absolutely a difference between hardcover and hard copy. To clarify Amazon's meaning, here's a quote from their News Release, dated July 19, 2010:
"Recent milestones for Kindle books include:
• 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."