Amazon say Kindle sales outstripping those of physical books

They said it was coming but now, online retail giant Amazon have claimed that Kindle ebook sales have overtaken those of printed books. Combining all hardback and paperback sales, digital downloads for Kindle devices is winning the war. But is it? Is there more to this story than meets the eye?

I’d like to go all “2012 and all that” on this post (my secondary blog where I challenge publicly believed nonsense and misinformation) and try to explain my understanding of how this is panning out in real terms. My alarm bells started to ring when I read this excerpt:

Much to the consternation of the publishing industry, Amazon has refused to release audited figures for its digital book sales, something it does for printed books. It told The Guardian that the company would not discuss future policy on the matter.

Whyever not? Amazon, why not put your money where your mouth is and give us actual audited figures. Why is this such a big deal? Are you concerned how WH Smith might scrutinise your figures and adjust their sales tactics for their rival Kobo devices? Sorry, but if you are going to make the claim that your digital sales are beating physical sales, you need something to back this up more substantial than the anecdote you have provided.

Regular readers will know that I am a Kindle owner, I got my first one for Christmas. Admittedly, I am buying far more Kindle books than physical books. This is mostly because of my large pile of physical books “to read” that I am trying to reduce. Secondly, I am having some success on Read It, Swap It, swapping books to save money. Thirdly and finally, Amazon have a clear policy (as far as I am concerned) to persistently undercut physical book sales on their own website.

* Kindle Daily Deal: In which book shops can you buy a different brand-new book every day on a one-day-only 99p offer? Waterstones? Blackwells? ASDA? Tesco? Not one of them will sell books by well known authors this cheaply.

* Seasonal sales: We know that all book chains – and some independent book shops – have seasonal sales but do they sell books for as little as £1.99? And again I am talking about big name titles here. Physical book sellers cannot afford to sell them this cheaply. Since buying my Kindle, I have bought in the Twelve Days of Kindle sale in which I acquired China Mieville’s Un Lon Don and A Game of Thrones, the spring sale and this still on-going summer marathon read in which I purchased two anthologies.

Sorry, but this to me seems to be far less about market trends and far more about Amazon’s aggressive pricing policy of promoting its own product.

3 thoughts on “Amazon say Kindle sales outstripping those of physical books

  1. kenpat

    There is a tendency nowadays just to take press releases as gospel. Yesterday I bought a Peter James book for Kindle for 20p. Plus several sci fi anthologies for pennies, they’re not available as print books. I also find that I tend to buy more ebooks on impulse due to the cheap prices. Do the figures include free books, as they treat them as a normal sale. All this contribitutes to a lopsided picture.
    I don’t own a Kindle, but use Kindle for Android.
    I would also like to know if they count the marketplace sales, I frequently get books for pennies, the real cost is the postage but is still well worth it.

    1. mgm75

      Until they are prepared to give us cold, hard facts we should treat this marketing ploy with the contempt it deserves. I have no axe to grind as I love my Kindle; I just wish Amazon were honest about this.

  2. The Writer's Codex

    I liken this topic to that of the current Smartphone trend. I am nearing a time when it will become necessary to enter the phone market again and, I am remiss to do so. All programs, incentives, and pricing motivators point you toward a smartphone but they charge you 30-40 monthly fees just to own and operate it. Why oh why do hey have to push us along with technology when all I want is a simple phone, that does simple things, at a simple price? Grrr! I understand your angst towards policies like this and the underhanded tactics of making unsubstantiated claims.

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