Amazon reports that it sold more books in digital format than in paper form on Christmas Day.
Just coincidentally — Diana gave me a Kindle for Christmas. Honestly, I did not mortgage the house to buy the entire Boxcar Children series for Sierra! I only bought Patrick O’Brian’s Navy and accidentally bought something else they quite readily cancelled with a second click of the Kindle. I’m enjoying it a lot so far.
Also in e-book news — Borders has joined the digital bookselling gold rush via an investment and business relationship with Kobo.
[Thanks to John Mansfield for the story.]
However, note that many of the Kindle sales are for free or artificially low-priced books: http://www.mediabistro.com/ebooknewser/amazon/majority_of_the_kindle_stores_top_100_bestsellers_are_free_ebooks_147187.asp
I presume that’s outsold books on paper sold by Amazon, which is an on-line service. I doubt very much that digital books outsold those printed on paper from actual bookstores you can walk into.
” … Blogger Mike Cane of The eBook Test got fed up with Amazon’s secrecy surrounding Kindle book sales numbers. Amazon claims to have had record Kindle and Kindle book sales this Christmas, but won’t provide any specific numbers.” The rest here: http://www.mediabistro.com/ebooknewser/amazon/a_challenge_to_publishers_reveal_your_kindle_sales_147386.asp or: http://tinyurl.com/ycgoeat
And the American Booksellers Association has this, from March 2009, about ebooks and independent bookstores selling them (it’s a longish piece): http://news.bookweb.org/news/6662.html
As one distinct feature of Kindle texts is that they can be accessed immediately, unlike mail-order paper books which take a few days to arrive, it’s not too surprising they’d outsell paper books on Christmas Day, when the number of shopping days until Christmas is zero.
Something more impressive will come when will they start outselling paper books the rest of the time.
Do we sf fans have a dog in this fight? I’m not going to be offended if Amazon fails to reveal its Kindle sales numbers — paper publishers aren’t in the habit of telling fans how many copies they sell either.
This story is ultimately about the internet culture having set an expectation that digitized text will supersede paper texts, and that’s of some interest. But what’s most important is that texts are selling, and income flowing to the writers.
Fans probably have a greater stake in other story lines we’re following about writers trying to adapt to economic and technological changes which make it more difficult for them to profit from their work.
Relevant single-panel editorial cartoon: http://blog.cagle.com/2009/12/30/kindle-reader/
Giving away is not selling.
@ Francis: Agreed. Perhaps the silver lining of their failing to give us a number at all is that we don’t have to decide whether it represents sales alone or some misleading composite.
Maybe the hothouse of the internet is keeping people from equating Amazon’s claims about digital v. paper with those big flashing signs at car dealerships along the freeway that boast about being #1 in sales of some category. It’s advertising, not history, and my treating it as news might be taking it more seriously than it deserves.
Of course it was an excuse to mention my new Kindle.
“Do we sf fans have a dog in this fight? ”
Imagine, if you will, The Utterly Complete Deluxe Preferred Text of, oh … Anathem.
Or perhaps GRRM could do weekly installments of “A Song of Ice and Fire” until your Kindle explodes …
“Perhaps the silver lining of their failing to give us a number at all is that we don’t have to decide whether it represents sales alone or some misleading composite.”
I’ll just note that in passing that – as far as I know – no US Bestseller list gives actual numbers either. Now, in the UK, The Bookseller has weekly lists via Nielsen Bookscan with sales of the previous week, and life to date sales. That J. K. Rowling sure sold a lot of books.
“Giving away is not selling.”
Well, sometimes it *might* lead to something wonderful: