Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Tipping Point?

Yesterday Amazon issued a press release with some pretty interesting numbers.

Amazon says that sales of its Kindle e-reader have tripled since they lowered the price from $259 to $189.

In addition, the press release indicated e-book sales have surpassed hardcover sales on Amazon:
Over the past month, for every 100 hardcover books Amazon.com has sold, it has sold 180 Kindle books. This is across Amazon.com's entire U.S. book business and includes sales of hardcover books where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher.
Another really interesting statistic. Hachette reported two weeks ago that James Patterson had sold 1.14 million e-books to date. The Amazon press release took credit for selling 76% or 867,881 of those e-books.

Go here to read the press release.

UPDATE: Teleread had an interesting story by David Rothman here in which Paul Story pointed out something I missed. Jeff Bezos did NOT say sales of the Kindle device had tripled. What he said was "the growth rate of Kindle device unit sales has tripled since we lowered the price from $259 to $189."

The two are very different.


Tara Maya said...


Tara Maya said...

I read an article that said this is a game changer for self-published books. Do you think that's true or that it's still crucial to go with a traditional publisher -- especially given their usual inadequate grasp of the ebook market and low royalties on ebooks?

Maya Reynolds said...

Tara: Too often writers make the mistake of believing that the end game is to have a book released. Unfortunately, the reality is that the book release is only the beginning.

You must have distribution and marketing.

Having a book sitting on Amazon or elsewhere online for sale does no good at all. You have to have a means to drive traffic to that book.

Self-publishing faces some horrendous hurdles still. Besides the marketing and distribution challenges, self-publishing still enjoys (!) a terrible reputation for producing awful books.

Two years ago on August 9, 2008, I posted a "decision tree for self-publishing." I'll dig it out and repost it for you.



Kaz Augustin said...

Another interesting data point is Andrew Wheeler's take on Amazon's ambiguous algebra. Go to http://antickmusings.blogspot.com/2010/07/amazon-algebra.html for his analysis. Verra interesting.

Maya Reynolds said...

Kaz: Very interesting reading indeed. Thx.