Amazon Says It’s Now Selling More Kindle Books Than Print Books

Three and a half years after unveiled the Kindle and revolutionized reading, the company says it’s now selling more e-books than hardcover and paperback books combined.

“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,” Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO said in a statement Thursday.

This latest announcement comes on the heels of Amazon’s report this past January that Kindle book sales had outpaced paperback sales, and a July 2010 report that the e-book sales had surpassed hardcover book sales. Today, Amazon says it sells 105 Kindle books for every 100 print books sold.

As CNN notes:

These stats only represent sales of books on, the only place consumers can buy e-books for the Kindle. When sales of books from other websites and brick-and-mortar stores are factored in, e-books still represent a small minority of all titles purchased, although some analysts predict they could reach 20% within a year or two.

The growth of electronic books has been a bright spot in an otherwise struggling publishing industry. Sales revenue from e-books were up 145.7% in March of this year compared with March 2010, according to the Association of American Publishers. At the same time, adult hardcover sales increased 6%, while mass market books — less-expensive paperbacks — grew by 1.2%.

It may be no wonder. The advent of the e-reader — be it the Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader or what have you, has certainly breathed life into the languishing publishing world. When the Kindle first came out, Amazon was both lauded and criticized for negotiating with publishers to slash prices for its e-books, but readers flocked to the device nevertheless. In the meantime, as sales have risen, the price of the Kindle itself has been dropping steadily.

The latest Kindle retails for a mere $114 and despite the fact that it carries on screen ads, Amazon claims it’s now the best selling device in the American Kindle family. And as long as you own a Kindle, Amazon has cleverly made its e-books available on pretty much any electronic device you have, be it an iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, PC or Android to name just a few. Not only that, it synchs to your last page, no matter the device you last used. Amazon also announced in April that Kindle readers will soon join the ranks of other e-readers and be able to borrow books from 11,000 libraries across the U.S. 

I have to say, despite the fact that I’m a dyed in the wool book lover, I do love my Kindle. The ease of transporting it, the ability to adjust the font size when I take off my glasses, the fact that I don’t even have to have it with me and can read on my iPhone on a whim, has me smitten. But it also has me wondering. What’s next? Will the digital domination of media ever end?


Photo courtesy of Annie Mole via Flickr


Bethany O.
Bethany Ogdon6 years ago

Remember the story that came out several years ago about peoples' copies of George Orwell books disappearing off of their Kindles? At the time Amazon said that they "took back" these digitized books because of a copyright issue, but the action provided the opportunity for people to consider what it means to buy digital books: you do not really own them and they can be deleted by the corporation at any time. I don't like the idea of mega corporations selling me books that they have control over after I've purchased them.

Leonor Calaca
Leonor Calaca6 years ago

I love books, whichever format they may come in. I am quite attracted to the idea of reading a book in electronic format, specially if the paper edition weights a lot! However, I can't understand why most e-books cost more than their paper counterparts. It makes no sense and, until this changes, I'll stick to paper, thank you very much.

Sandy Nichols
Sandy Nichols6 years ago

Love my Kindle. Wouldn't trade it for nothing.

Judith Corrigan
Judith Corrigan6 years ago

I know that it is more environmentally friendly to have an ebook reader but I love the feel and smell of books.

christopher murray

Just another sad tale of how technology is taking away so many joys

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson6 years ago

thanks for the post. a fad that won't last.

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers6 years ago

I find it rather sad.

caterina caligiuri


jane richmond
jane richmond6 years ago

Husband just bought one.

Roxane Connor
Roxane Connor6 years ago

Ten years from now my printed book will read the same way it reads now.Additions, deletions, and other editing of future editions would be provable. Not so easily for on-line books.
If the power goes out I still have my books.No batteries required.