Digital books are definitely on the rise. Amazon.com recently reported that it is now selling 80% more downloaded books than hardbacks for its Kindle electronic e-reader as well as other devices, thus overtaking the hardcover format.
“Astonishing when considering that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years and Kindle books for 33 months,” commented Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos.
He’s right. For the past month, Amazon sold 180 e-books for every 100 hardcovers, and it sold three times as many e-books in the first six months of this year as it did in the first half of 2009.
Sales of Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader device have tripled since the company reduced its price from $260 to $190 in response to Barnes & Noble lowering the price of its Nook from $150 to $199. (In fact, the Kindle has been Amazon’s top-selling single item for the last two years since its debut in 2007.)
With the cost of entry lowered, it really only makes sense that the lower priced e-books (usually around $9.99) would be more popular than more expensive hardcovers, which typically cost around $25. Plus, you don’t need to have a Kindle to read Kindle books — they’re also available for the iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Android phones, and for Mac and Windows PCs.
That said, paperbacks are still king and far outsell hardbacks (and was not included in Amazon’s announcement). At least for now anyway. Time will tell…