Amazon Sez . . .

by wjw on July 20, 2010

Amazon has announced that it’s now selling more Kindle e-books than hardbacks, and that this is a huge milestone in the history of publishing.

Several grains of salt need to be taken with this message. No raw numbers are provided, only a percentage (143 Kindle sales for every 100 hardback sales). It’s not clear how many of the Kindle sales replace hardback sales, and how many replace paperback sales. A great many Kindle books are out-of-copyright classics on sale for 99 cents or for free. (I just downloaded the six-volume Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire for my Kindle, and it cost me less than buck.)

And of course, Amazon’s figures have always been notoriously slippery, as any author who has tried to track his own Amazon sales will tell you.

So the barricades have not yet been stormed, and the revolution, whatever it is, has not triumphed.

Still, this probably means something or other. Your guess is as good as mine as to what.

Ken Houghton July 20, 2010 at 8:32 pm

One word: iPad.

More words: Kindle app. Readable screen.

Important words: Not on dollar basis. One-time thing; may not happen a lot. See Amazon's 10-Q, if and when.

Al July 20, 2010 at 8:40 pm

I and others own both a Kindle and an iPad. I wouldn't read a novel on the iPad. It would trash my eyes.

Mark July 21, 2010 at 11:02 am

Tastes vary.

Reading on the iPad is more than tolerable. I've read several novels on it.

The screen refresh on Kindles drives me nuts.

Al July 21, 2010 at 3:30 pm

How many times did you need to recharge while doing it? Have you tried reading a novel on a kindle? It works quite well and on less than a single charge.

Mark July 21, 2010 at 5:39 pm


The real-world, tested battery life on my iPad is ~10 hours.

Yes, the Kindle's battery life is longer, but it's also a single-purpose device. The iPad is infinitely more flexible.

Some people want longer battery life and don't mind the screen refresh flicker. I'm not one of those people.

Dave Bishop July 21, 2010 at 7:09 pm

I'm hoping that 'Decline and Fall' represents research for some massive, Galaxy-spanning epic of interstellar conflict involving empires and barbarians and stuff … possibly?

dubjay July 23, 2010 at 3:01 am

I find my Kindle perfectly readable. A single battery charge lasts for days.

It's as purposeful and singleminded as a paperback book, except that it weighs less. You can't browse the Internet or listen to music on a paperback, either, but then you can't do more than one thing on an iPad, so I don't necessarily see the advantage.

When I'm reading, I'm usually actively avoiding the Internet, so I'd find a device that does both very distraction.

Dave>> not YET it isn't.

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