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E-Book sales outstrip physical copies on Amazon

31 January 2011 - 11:44 by Simon Crisp

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E-commerce goliath Amazon has announced that, thanks to its Kindle e-Book reader, the sales of digital copies has outstripped that of printed paperback tomes for the first time in history.

In the middle of 2010 a similar milestone was breached when e-Book sales overtook hardbacks but now the cheaper, traditionally more popular paperback chart has been sidelined, as people ditch their old habits and turn to the Kindle and similar devices.

Amazon announced this week that for every 100 paperback books that were sold, 115 e-Books were bought and downloaded.

The most important aspect of these statistics is that Amazon is choosing to eliminate the thousands of free e-Books from contention, which means each sale represents cash in the pocket of the author, publisher and of course the world's largest firm offering safe shopping online.

Analysts have noted that while this transition might be seen as an indication of the weakening of the market for print books, this is not actually the case. Sales of paperbacks are on the rise too - it is just that e-Books are doing even better, thus managing to eclipse this old medium.

The boost was mostly due to the fact that during the festive period, many people bought the Kindle as a gift and so thousands more consumers were able to buy their first few e-Books from Amazon's portal.

Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, explained that Amazon had predicted that e-Book sales would eventually be greater than paperbacks, but said that this had not been expected to happen until Q2 2011.

Some are claiming that within a decade the days of the paperback and hardback book could be numbered, especially given the fact that the convenience of buying an e-Book via safe shopping online is becoming more commonly understood among consumers.