Amazon.com has reached a milestone much earlier than anticipated regarding the sale of Kindle books.
The online retailer announced that its e-book sales had eclipsed hardcover books last July, but now Kindle books have outsold paperbacks to become the most commonly purchased reading format on Amazon.
After four years of Kindle, Amazon notes, the e-books are now outselling hardbacks and paperbacks combined. Since April 1st, the retailer has shifted 105 e-books for every 100 printed editions.
In case you’re thinking the number of Kindle copies has been boosted by all the free books available, they aren’t included. And printed editions which don’t have Kindle versions are counted in the figures.
The publishing market in general has long held the view that e-books are still very much a thing of the future, but the speed with which Kindle has eclipsed printed sales on Amazon suggests that the future is arriving far more rapidly than some anticipated (or indeed feel comfortable with).
Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, stated: “We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly.”
Amazon has sold three times as many Kindle books thus far in 2011 as it did during the same period last year. The US Kindle store now has almost a million books on its virtual shelves.
Amazon.co.uk also just announced Kindle sales since April 1st had increased to 242 e-books sold for every 100 hardbacks (with some 650,000 books available in the UK Kindle store).