Kindle outsells print versions of books

May 20th, 2011 - 5:38 pm ICT by IANS  

London, May 20 (IANS) Sales of digital e-books have outstripped real books for the first time, according to Amazon.

Four years after the launch of electronic novels, the firm announced it has sold 105 e-books for every 100 printed books over the past six weeks.

While e-book sales have previously outsold hardback books, never before have they exceeded sales of all books, in both hardback and paperback forms.

The books can be read on a range of electronic devices - from Kindles to computers, iPods, iPhones, iPads and BlackBerrys, the Daily Mail reports.

Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon.com, said it was a shock the sales had taken hold of the market so quickly.

“Customers are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books,” he said.

“We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly - we’ve been selling print books for 15 years and Kindle books for less than four years.”

The US Kindle Store now offers more than 950,000 books, with more than 175,000 added in the last five months.

The figures, which are for its US website, are not just limited to cases where both formats are available - they include printed books for which there is no electronic edition. Free e-books have also not been taken into account, for the sake of fairness.

Outside the US also, the figures are massively on the rise.

In the UK, where Amazon’s Kindle store opened just a year ago, e-books now outsell hardbacks at a ration of two-to-one.

Amazon began selling hardcover and paperback books in July 1995. Twelve years later it launched e-books and by July 2010 Kindle book sales had surpassed sales of hardbacks.

Six months later Kindle books began outselling paperbacks and, now, the format is more popular than all text books put together.

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