Amazon: E-books Outselling All Print & Ad-Supported Kindle Is Top-Seller

On the same day that the American Association of Publishers (AAP) announced a rebound for print in March, and that e-books had dropped back to third place (behind trade paperback and hardback), Amazon declared that they were now selling more e-books than print books.

Yesterday, I covered the limitations of the AAP figures, namely that they only include a small number of publishing houses, they ignore more e-focused small and independent presses, and they don’t include self-publishers.

Amazon gives us a different, if also incomplete, picture. They rarely release hard numbers, and prefer to talk in general terms.

In their press release on Thursday, they announced that, since April 1, they now sell 105 Kindle books for every 100 print books. Free Kindle books were excluded from these figures.

They also noted that they have been selling print books for 15 years and Kindle books for only 4. CEO Jeff Bezos stated, “We had high hopes that his would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly.”

In addition, Amazon also announced that the new $114 ad-supported Kindle is now the bestselling member of the Kindle family, despite only being on sale for five weeks.

Amazingly, they have already sold three times as many Kindle books in 2011 as they did in the same period in 2010.

This boom is not just confined to the US. In the UK, even though hardback is growing, customers are purchasing twice as many Kindle books.

Finally, Amazon notes that the Kindle Store now contains almost a million books. 175,000 of those have been added in the last five months.


There are a couple of frustrating things about these figures.

First, they lack specifics, and only talk in terms of volume rather than dollar revenue. While e-books outselling all print is a milestone, for sure, they do not tell us the revenue difference.

Print books tend to have much higher prices than e-books. And, as these figures included titles from smaller presses and self-publishers, there will be a lot of $2.99 and 99 cent e-books in the mix.

Self-publishers mightn’t care, as they will earn more from a $2.99 e-book they publish themselves as a large trade publisher would give them from a $9.99 e-book, but the industry as a whole will place less weight on these figures without dollar amounts.

Second, would it kill Amazon to break out self-publisher figures and give us some idea how they are doing?

Third, wouldn’t it be great promotion for them to tell us the actual amounts of Kindles sold?

All that aside, it’s another step forward for e-books. And not the last by a long way.

Overall, it’s shaping up to be a good year for Amazon. E-book and e-reader sales are booming, and they are rumoured to have two tablets in line for a September release, with one, maybe, being a phone.

Other News

I was interviewed by fellow author Dave Cleinman over at his blog (thanks Dave). So if you would like to read that, and see a picture of my parents, you can do so here. He’s got interviews with lots of other authors that are worth checking out. I always learn something from them.

I uploaded Transfection today (hence the delayed and truncated post), and it should be on sale in a couple of days. I’m very excited. I think it’s my best story so far, and I hope to exceed the sales of my last one.

Tomorrow, I will be participating again in Sample Sunday on Twitter. This week, I will be giving a free sample of The Reset Button, the second story from If You Go Into The Woods. If you have a book out, or just want to share some writing, I highly recommend participating.

More details, and an example of what you do, here.

David Gaughran

Born in Ireland, he now lives in a little fishing village in Portugal, although this hasn’t increased the time he spends outside. He writes fiction under another name, has helped thousands of authors build a readership, and has created marketing campaigns for some of the biggest self-publishers on the planet. Friend to all dogs.

0 Replies to “Amazon: E-books Outselling All Print & Ad-Supported Kindle Is Top-Seller”

    1. I love it too, it’s great. I’m so glad my designer didn’t listen to me and insisted on going in this direction. She knows what she is doing.

      I nearly tore all my hair out uploading that story today, so I’m gonna spend the rest of the day with my friend, Mr. Whiskey.

  1. She definitely does.

    Oh, Mr. Whiskey is a good friend to have. I spent last night with Ms. Daiquiri, who is also a very excellent friend, though perhaps a bit fruity (In this case mango was involved.).

  2. Shit Dave, your blog is good!
    I was just explaining this to my better half and it occurred to me that I should mention it to you. Every day’s installment takes me ages to read because I have to follow every link, read what it’s all about, then carry on. It’s very impressive, I’ll never know how you manage to find out all this information and be constantly on top of what’s going on all over. I’d no idea Amazon were planning new tablets. I’d never have discovered their press release even if I’d known about it. And yet you still have time to a) write a new story, b) format & upload a new story and c) score an interview on another blog. Oh, and actually do the interview. I concur with one of your other commenters a few days back – do you ever sleep?

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