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Amazon: Kindle Books Outselling Hardbacks

July 20, 2010

The struggling printed book industry was dealt another blow on Monday when online retailer Amazon reported that sales of electronic books for their Kindle e-reader have now surpassed hardcover book sales.

According to AFP reports, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos credited a recent price reduction for the Kindle’s success. Bezos told the news agency that sales of the device have tripled since the company cut $70 from its price tag last month, reducing the cost from $259 to $189.

“We’ve reached a tipping point with the new price of Kindle,” Bezos told reporters in a media statement. “In addition, even while our hardcover sales continue to grow, the Kindle format has now overtaken the hardcover format.”

“Amazon.com 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,” he added. The company reports that they have sold 180 Kindle books for every 100 hardcover books over the past month, and 143 Kindle books per 100 hardcovers over a three month span.

The decision to trim the Kindle’s cost came following the release of Apple’s iPad tablet computer.

While the iPad has been a sales success, the cheapest model of the Apple computer runs $499.

The basic-feature Kindle has cost $189 since June 21, and a new large-screen model currently carries a price point of $389. However, the iPad features a color e-reader compared to black-and-white for the Kindle, while also including other functionality, in contrast to the Kindle, which is a dedicated e-reader.

The Kindle marks only a fraction of Amazon’s success.

According to Dan Gallagher of MarketWatch, the company “is expected to report a double-digit gain in sales and a doubling of its operating income when it posts second-quarter results later this week”¦ Amazon is slated to report second-quarter results after Thursday’s closing bell. Wall Street currently expects net sales to jump by 41% to $6.55 billion, compared with the same period last year, with earnings per share expected to hit 55 cents, compared with 32 cents a year earlier, according to consensus forecasts from Thomson Reuters.”

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