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Amazon’s E-books Outsell Hardcovers

A trend that points to the death of the hardcover


Amazon announced today that its electronic titles dramatically outsold hardcover titles last month, with 180 e-books sold for every 100 hardcovers. (NASDAQ: AMZN) founder and CEO Jeff Bezos points to the recently lowered price of the Kindle, from $259 to $189, as the catalyst for the recent explosion in sales.

“ customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books–astonishing when you consider that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years and Kindle books for 33 months,” said Bezos in a statement.

Despite predictions that Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) recently released iPad will render all other devices that came before it obsolete, Amazon has managed to witness a boom in sales for its e-reader, the Kindle. Numbers climbed each month during the second quarter for the online retailer and Amazon is now selling more digital books than hardcover books for the first time in company history. Amazon sold more than 3x as many Kindle books in the first half of 2010 as in the first half of 2009 – a promising sign for the company amidst the strong market competition in 2010. The latest data reports from the Association of American Publishers show that e-book sales grew 207 percent year-to-date through May. Kindle book sales year-to-date through May exceeded those growth rates and don’t even include the free Kindle book in those figures.

Even after the media frenzy surrounding the Apple’s highly anticipated tablet, investors with stock in Amazon have not had to face the full wrath of Apple just yet. AMZN has outperformed earning estimates consistently for the past year and with second quarter earnings set to be announced on Thursday, a strong showing is expected by many. Apple’s stock has unsurprisingly enjoyed steady growth as well since the blockbuster release of its iPad, which has already sold more than 3 million units as of last month.

It seems like the Kindle is managing to hold its own so far in the newly waged war for customer loyalty in the e-reader market. Amazon still might be able to carve out a niche for itself and survive in the digital reader and e-book market. All the speculators who rushed to call the iPad the great Kindle killer may have jumped the gun and underestimated consumer demand.

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