Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Amazon reports ebooks now outselling hardbacks

In a recent press release, Amazon discussed its rapidly increasing ebook sales and milestones. Although Amazon did not disclose sales figures, digital books are clearly growing rapidly; three times as many Kindle books were sold in the first half of 2010 than in the first half of 2009. According to the press release, sales on Kindle devices also tripled since its price reduction ‘war’ with Barnes and Noble. Another interesting statistic that Amazon released is that in the past three months it sold 143 Kindle books for every 100 hardcover books, and in the past month this ratio increased to sales of 80% more ebooks than hardcovers. Although information pertaining to the profit margin was not released and is not clear, an article in the Los Angeles Times this week opined that the company may be taking a loss on some ebooks in its battle for market share.

Colin Gillis, an analyst with BGC Financial stated, "We don't know the economics of these e-books. In our opinion, they are losing money on a lot of the bestsellers sold as e-books."

This information, announced only a few days before the company’s earning report, is likely in response to concerns about the iPad’s impact on Amazon’s sales. The ebook market is clearly growing rapidly, although with so many devices and platforms available it is quite competitive. Amazon has stated that it intends to compete with the iPad and other such devices by providing a purpose-built device for “serious readers”, and the Graphite Kindle DX, released earlier this month, maintains this stance, providing higher contrast, faster page turning, and generally improving upon the reading experience of its predecessors.

A review of the Graphite Kindle DX can be found here, and more information on Amazon’s recently announced sales statistics can be found in an LA Times article here.

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