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Kindle Ebooks Outsell Print Books on Amazon

Updated on January 31, 2013

Amazon built its far-reaching reputation from its enormous selection of books, but those books are now sold in digital form more often than in print. In 2010, more Amazon Kindle versions of books were sold through Amazon than physical copies. While Amazon has been selling books online since the earliest days of ecommerce in 1995, the Kindle books outstripped those sales in less than three years of availability.

Customers Buy Ebooks and Kindles

When the price of the ebook readers was lowered to $189, sales of the Amazon Kindle tripled. In June of 2010, 180 Kindle books were sold for every 100 hardcover books. During that same period, 100 print books were sold for every 143 Kindle books. 

Since that time, the price of the least expensive Kindle model was reduced to $139, making the digital ebook reader the most popular product on the massive retail site.

The low price has made it affordable enough to become a staple gadget comparable to a cell phone in proliferation. 

One of the factors that has created this demand for the Kindle is that the ebook store often offers Kindle books at lower prices than the print versions. While new hardcover New York Times bestsellers routinely cost $25 and more, the Kindle versions of these books cost $9.99. More than 500,000 books in the ebook store cost $9.99 or less, and there is shipping cost.

Free Ebooks From Amazon

There are many outlets for free ebooks online, but perhaps the largest is Amazon itself. Almost two million free Kindle books are available on the site.

One of the controversial parts of the Kindle ebook story is that Kindle ebooks are excluded from the Amazon affiliate program. The program is the oldest and most popular affiliate program on the Internet, generating revenue for thousands of websites and blogs. The Kindle exclusion means fewer royalties for affiliates even if the number of sales made for Amazon remains the same. But for readers, it means easier access to books, lower prices for new books and instant ownership of desired books.

The Future of Print Books

The lightning-fast rise of ebooks over print books has made many question the future of print books. While future printings of new books may be noticeably smaller, there is no indication that print books will be gone anytime soon. With the rise of digital news, newspapers are still being printed and sold. However, each decade the age of newspaper readers has skewed older and older. The same will likely be true for print books for the next few decades. Print books and newspapers may never cease being made, but one day they may be a luxury, or even a novelty, rather than the expected way to get that information.

What Do You Buy?

Do You Still Buy Print Books?

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