Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sales of E-books by Joyce Hart

I’ve been watching the sales of e-books for the past few years and they have been so-so, but it is changing somewhat. My son just bought a Nook with wi-fi. He travels extensively and is delighted with this reader. He says he can read with one hand standing in a line. He’s a book addict, like his mother. We can’t stand to wait in line without a book. This morning when I read the PW Newsletter it caught my attention. Here are two articles about e-books.

Amazon’s E-book Sales Tripled in First Half of 2010 (From PW)
By Jim Milliot
Jul 19, 2010
In Amazon’s ongoing effort to show how popular the Kindle and e-books are without giving away real numbers the company has released a batch of new statistics about the two products ahead of its second quarter earnings report set for Thursday. According to the company, sales of the e-reader “accelerated each month in the second quarter—both on a sequential month-over-month basis and on a year-over-year basis.”

“We’ve reached a tipping point with the new price of Kindle—the growth rate of Kindle device unit sales has tripled since we lowered the price from $259 to $189,” declared Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO. “In addition, even while our hardcover sales continue to grow, the Kindle format has now overtaken the hardcover format. customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books.”

According to Amazon, over the past three months, for every 100 hardcover books it has sold, the e-tailer has sold 143 Kindle books. Over the past month, for every 100 hardcover books Amazon has sold, it has sold 180 Kindle books. The ratio is across Amazon’s entire U.S. book business and includes sales of hardcover books where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded from the totals.

Amazon e-book sales tripled in the first half of 2010 compared to 2009 and its growth rate in the first five months of 2010 was higher than the 207% increase reported by the AAP. Five authors—Charlaine Harris, Stieg Larsson, Stephenie Meyer, James Patterson, and Nora Roberts—have each sold more than 500,000 Kindle books and Amazon said that of the 1.4 million e-books that Hachette said James Patterson has sold, 867,881 were for the Kindle.

The Kindle store now has more than 630,000 books and over 510,000 are $9.99 or less.
However, here is a quote from my friend Steve Laube’s blog about e-book sales:
“Claiming that e-books have outsold hardcovers is disingenuous if they are counting free downloads as sales. Remember when Amazon claimed that on Christmas Day they sold more e-books than p-books? Of course they did. Everyone who received a Kindle as a gift, turned it on and downloaded books. Who else was shopping for books on Christmas Day?”

This is a second article I found on the internet:
“Kindle has reached its tipping point, and now the Sony Reader has, too. Earlier this year the 10 millionth book was downloaded from the Sony Reader Store, Phil Lubell, v-p of digital reading at Sony Electronics said today. “We are well on our way to doubling this number by year's end," he said. Since launching its digital reading business, the company has seen “steady growth, month over month, year over year. In fact, device sales for the second quarter of this year are about triple what they were for last year,” he said.

Late Tuesday afternoon Apple announced that it sold 3.27 million iPads from the time the tablet was released in April through the end of the second quarter June 30. iPad revenue topped $2 billion.”

These articles say nothing about the sale of Barnes & Noble’s Nook and those sales have to be high as well.

Again according to Steve’s blog only 4% of total book sales were e-book sales in May. He says that according to the Association of American Publishers May book sales were 715.3 Million, and e-books sales were 29.3 million. Maybe most of us still love holding a book in our hands.

I have books all over my house, upstairs, downstairs, in the basement family room, maybe I should think about buying a reader one of these days. Or, maybe not.

May God bless and keep you,



Jeanette Levellie said...

Thank you for this perspective. It keeps me from a panic attack.

And why am I not surprised that some people lie to make themselves look better? It's happened since before time.

I love the feel, smell and versatility of a paper book, too, Joyce. We probably own 2,000 or more.

This post made my day. More, more!


Joyce Hart said...

Jen, I'm glad this post made your day. Without a doubt the e-book market is growing and will continue to do so. However, I feel there will always be print books, there are too many of us who feel as you do about the feel, smell and versatility of a paper book.

Thanks for being such a faithful follower of this blog.

Caroline said...

Thanks for the post and keeping us updated. I'm never sure whether to go rah! rah! over the rising sales of ebooks or not. I suppose anything that sells for the writer is good. What a changing world!


Meghan said...

Hi Joyce,

If you are looking for some more information on e-readers, Jeff Bezos, founder & CEO of will be discussing the new Kindle tonight on Charlie Rose on Bloomberg Television.
The episode might give you more insight regarding the purchase of an e-reader.

To discover where to tune-in, you can find your local listings here:

All the best,
Community Manager
Bloomberg Television

Debby Mayne said...

As long as people keep reading, I don't care if it's in print or electronically. I still haven't purchased an e-reader, but I'll probably get the Kindle soon.

Thanks for the fascinating and info-filled post. I love statistics!