In terms of literary milestones, this moment could be right up there with the invention of the Gutenberg Printing Press as landmark days in how we consume literary texts.
Amazon has announced that it has sold more ebooks for its Kindle e-reader than it sold paperbacks in 2010. Announcing Q4 financial results, founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos said: “Kindle books have now overtaken paperback books as the most popular format on Amazon.com. Last July we announced that Kindle books had passed hardcovers and predicted that Kindle would surpass paperbacks in the second quarter of this year, so this milestone has come even sooner than we expected.”
For every 100 paperbacks sold since the beginning of 2010, 115 ebooks were sold. This is on the back of the hugely successful third generation Kindle which was launched during the year. Though Amazon are not releasing sales figures for its handheld device, reports estimate that it could have shipped eight million units since launch in the middle of 2010. Amazon also confirmed that the Kindle had overtaken Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as the single biggest selling item on the site.
The fourth quarter results overall for Amazon show sales increase by 36 percent to $12.95 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $9.52 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009, with net income increasing by 8 percent to $416 million. Bezos also pointed out that as well as the milestone of ebooks overtaking paperbacks, it was also Amazon’s first ever $10 billion quarter.
With the launch of it “Buy Once, Read Everywhere” Kindle apps for the iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, PC, laptop, Windows Phone 7 and Android mobile devices, Amazon is clearly looking to confirm its place as the most dominant force in the ebooks sphere. Looking forward, Amazon are predicting sales of $ $9.1 billion and $9.9 billion in Q1 2011 which would see growth of between 28 and 39 percent compared to Q1 of 2010.