Kindle sales boom, but piracy danger

Amazon has a bumper Kindle Christmas, but e-books are being increasingly pirated
Adam Smith

January 2, 2012
Kindle Fire

Amazon has been boasting about just how well its range of Kindle devices has performed over Christmas.

Throughout December, over a million Kindle devices were sold every week, with the Kindle Fire representing the majority of those flogged.

In fact, the Kindle family held the top three positions on the best-selling charts, with the Fire at number one, Kindle Touch at number two and the basic Kindle e-reader (the only one available in the UK) at number three.

Amazon neglected to give an exact breakdown of the amount of devices sold. However, guessing that sales were around the four and a half to five million mark, if the Fire made up around 40% of those sales (as the leading device by a short-ish margin), we’re looking at two million units shifted.

That’s rough guesswork but if it’s about right and close to two million, that’s a pretty impressive initial performance for the budget tablet.

The basic Kindle e-reader was the best-selling product on, too, and record Kindle store e-book sales were recorded on Christmas day as new owners fired up their presents for a test drive.

In fact, during the month run up to Christmas, gifting of Kindle books was up 175% on the previous year.

Interestingly, the number one and number four best-selling Kindle books of last year were self-published using Kindle Direct Publishing.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos commented: “We are grateful to our customers worldwide for making this the best holiday ever for Kindle.”

“And in a huge milestone for independent publishing, we’d also like to congratulate Darcie Chan, the author of ‘The Mill River Recluse,’ and Chris Culver, the author of ‘The Abbey,’ for writing two of the best-selling Kindle books of the year.”

There was some more negative news, however, regarding the prevalence of piracy when it comes to Kindle titles.

According to a Daily Mail report, the ever increasing stream of Kindles selling is opening up a bigger market for pirated books, with something in the order of one in five Kindle titles being illegally downloaded.

Some of that is likely a reaction to the fact that some e-books are priced higher than their printed equivalents, though, which given the costs involved in their production seems rather ridiculous.

The European Commission is currently investigating the e-book market regarding allegations of price fixing.

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