Amazon.com, one of the US’ largest booksellers, announced on Monday that for the past three months, sales of books for its e-reader, the Kindle, has outnumbered sales of hardcover books (via).
Until few months back, Amazon used to sell 48 Kindle copies for every 100 physical copies of books that it offered in both formats. But the figures definitely seem to have taken a dramatic change now.
Now Amazon is selling 143 Kindle books for every 100 hardcover books, including hardcovers for which there is no Kindle edition. The figures do not include free Kindle books.
As far as overall digital book sale is concerned, even there is an upsurge. In past four weeks, sales rose to 180 digital books for every 100 hardcover copies. Amazon has 630,000 Kindle books, a small fraction of the millions of books sold on the site.
The growth rate of Kindle sales tripled after Amazon lowered the price of the device in late June to $189 from $259 and as per the Association of American Publishers, e-book sales have quadrupled this year through May.
Amazon had earlier also predicted to sell more of e-books as compared to physical books and the recent statistics undeniably cast a notable change in favor of their estimation. There is definitely need for this product in certain consumer segments, moreover e-books are eco friendly and easier to store as compared to the physical ones. So, does this mean physical books are on their slow path to extinction now? What about avid readers like me who still prefer to read the physical books? Will the affordability, accessibility and convenience factor to store books affect my consumption behavior? Though Kindle as such has not been doing that great in India but considering the book market in India (India is the world’s third largest English language book market and has been growing at about 10% per annum for several years) and availability of more affordable products like Infibeam’s Pi, will the global trend of e-book outselling physical books apply to Indian market too? Would be interesting to observe some statistics from Indian e-book sellers to come out with a better comparison between international vs. domestic market but as of now from all the global trends, e-books definitely seem to be picking faster than estimated and that too in a short span of time.