It was bound to happen, but no one really thought it’d happen this fast.
In a press release sent out this morning, online mega-seller Amazon announced that Kindle books are now outselling both paperback and hardcover books combined. It took a little over two years since the Kindle launched in 2007 to have its e-books outpace hardcovers, but it happened in July of 2010 before overtaking paperbacks six months later as well.
“Customers are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books,” says Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. “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.”
Since April of this year, Amazon touts that they’ve been able to sell 105 Kindle books for every 100 print books sold.
Part of the company’s accelerated success can at least be partially attributed to the proliferation of its e-readers. The third generation Kindle — in addition to being the Seattle-based company’s best selling item ever — pursued an aggressive low-pricing strategy in the interest of ubiquity, as perhaps best indicated by the recent introduction of a relatively inexpensive $114 ad-supported Kindle and Kindle apps for just about every popular mobile platform. And studies have shown that dedicated, e-ink powered readers like the Kindle can thrive alongside more capable devices like the iPad.
The U.S. Kindle store has over 950,000 titles to choose from, a large portion of which (790,000) are priced at $9.99 or less. Amazon has teased out that it may unveil a full-fledged tablet later this year, while recent partnerships and initiatives (such as with local libraries) point to the device’s staying power with readers.
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