Amazon Christmas e-book sales beat print sales

Amazon Christmas e-book sales beat print sales.

As detailed in The Age, “On Christmas Day customers bought more electronic books than hard-copy books on internet retail giant, the company said in a statement Saturday.

Amazon also said that its e-book reader, the Kindle, “has become the most gifted item in Amazon’s history.”

“On Christmas Day, for the first time ever, customers purchased more Kindle books than physical books,” Amazon said.”

Although the nay-sayers will state that as Amazon don’t release actual sales numbers you cannot make any in depth analysis, it is with interest that electronic books are on the rise.

We all expect the Apple Tablet to somehow play in this space, even though Steve Jobs has made comments in the past that books are on the wane.

In my opinion I believe books are not on the wane at all but rather people want to receive books in a better package. I for one purchased a Kindle recently for the following reasons:

  • I wanted to be able to read a book without having to carry the weight of the book;
  • I did not want to worry about bookmarks or tagging pages;
  • Once I have completed a book I do not want to have wait to get home to get the next one;
  • I also did not want to have to carry multiple books at the same time;
  • I wanted to receive magazines electronically and automatically each month; and
  • I am not a paper person but I wanted the readability of the e-ink solution.

Therefore, it does not surprise me at all that the Kindle performed so well for Amazon over the Christmas holidays. Let me explain my personal reasons why, given I was one of the people that bought one for Christmas:

  • After opening the Kindle it automatically assigned the device to me and linked to my Amazon account;
  • The Kindle provides a simple interface to the Amazon store called “Shop in Kindle Store”. It is a kind of iTunes interface with recommendations for you, best sellers and the ability to browse books, magazines and newspapers;
  • The quality of the product made reading so easy in any light and since I have received the device I have increased my reading 10 fold. This goes to the point that Steve Jobs made that people do not read as much, perhaps it was because the quality of the devices and the paperback books are just not as readable (i.e there was a “job” that customers did not realise they required to be solved);
  • The device was the perfect size to fit into a single hand for reading; and
  • Because of all these factors on Christmas Day I purchased around 3-5 books and a magazine.

So, other than my personal reasons and evidence, I do believe the day of the electronic book are upon us and people will read more, not less over the coming years.

For the professional, the Kindle does have an option to send PDF documents via email to the device, however the costs are a little steep making this option not sustainable for an individual. However, for an organisation, with perhaps some corporate pricing, I could see the Kindle replacing the unbelievable amount of paper that is taken into meetings every day. Perhaps this is what Apple is leading up to, a device that can be used in a meeting to read, take notes, share information and then sync back to your local computer for further dissecting, clean up and then reporting.


Scott North has extensive experience in enterprise risk management, internal audit, operational risk and compliance, risk strategy, scenario planning, technology risk, technology business analysis, systems design, financial accounting, and management accounting. Scott is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Chartered Accountants with a Masters Degree from the University of Melbourne in Business and Information Technology. Scott is also a Fellow of the University of Melbourne.

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