Amazon Announces an eBook Milestone

Kindle - white vs graphic (vs a stack of books)

As the Olympics thrilled London, another small piece of history also happened online. Amazon announced that their U.K. web site was now selling more ebooks for the Kindle than they were selling printed books!

It marked just the two-year anniversary of the day Amazon released the Kindle in England – and there’s some even more impressive figures. Amazon added that Kindle owners in the U.K. purchase four times as many ebooks as they did printed books. For every 100 printed books Amazon sold there, they were now selling 114 ebooks. And the figures don’t even include the sales of Amazon-published ebooks in Apple’s iBookStore or through other online booksellers. “Customers in the UK are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books,” announced Amazon’s Vice President of Kindle for Europe, “even as our print business continues to grow. As a result of the success of Kindle, we’re selling more books than ever before…”

The news has generated some headlines – but it’s really just another milestone in a bigger ongoing story. Amazon had already revealed that ebooks were outselling printed books in America more than one year ago. Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, announced the news in a conference call with shareholders on June 7, 2011. And he’d shared the same surprising twist: an announcement that at the same time, Amazon was also selling more printed books than ever before.

I’m reminded of the schoolteacher who taught her 5th grade class with Kindles. One of the students said it had made reading cool. Instead of outdated old copies of old-fashioned books, the students could read digital texts, search them electronically, and even share their favorite highlights right on their Facebook pages. Maybe Amazon’s actually increased the world’s interest in reading itself. That could explain why Amazon’s also selling more printed books.

Jeff Bezos has a goal to create a “universal library, ” so they can always connect customers to the book they want — any book, any where. Amazon’s working that towards goal with “a team of missionaries,” Bezos told the investors, and maybe their enthusiasm is coming through the Kindles that they make. I love reading on my Kindle, and I like to think that Amazon understands that passion, and is just trying to keep sharing it with the rest of the world. I guess what I’m saying is that behind all the sales figures is a simple idea: that people will read more if you make it easy enough for them.

And that’s probably why Amazon is selling so many ebooks…

A Secret Summer Kindle Commercial?

Amazon summer beach resort Kindle ad

I love Amazon’s Kindle commercials. It’s really fun to see how a professional advertising agency captures the fun of owning a Kindle with flashy video clips and exotic music choices. Today I discovered there’s one great Kindle commercial that most people haven’t seen. It’s airing only in England, but you can also watch it online on Amazon’s official channel for Kindle videos!

For a shortcut to the video, point your browser to

This cheerful ad shows lots of happy people enjoying their Kindle while they’re “on holiday” at the beach. (“Pack your Kindle,” urge the words appearing on-screen at the beginning of the commercial.) Those words appear over the image of a carefully-packed suitcase, but all the other video clips show a fancy summer resort. There’s a woman relaxing by the pool, a tall glass of lemonade, and a room with a view of the beach. But of course, each clip includes a Kindle as part of the fun!

Kindle on beach mattress

“Holds all your holiday books…” read the words next to the glass of lemonade. “Lighter than a paperback…” appears as a man flops onto a bed with his Kindle, with the lovely beach view in the background. Amazon manages to include all the Kindle’s key selling points, while creating a real sense of fun. “Now introducing Kindle Touch…” they add towards the end of the commercial. “Kindle £89 Kindle Touch £109…”

The video appears on Amazon’s official channel for Kindle videos at (On the same page, Amazon’s also webcasting some inspiring interviews with some self-published authors.) Altogether, Amazon’s online Kindle videos have been viewed more than 7,249,265 times. And yet so far, this fun summer ad has racked up less than 11,000 views.

I liked the bouncy song in the background, which adds to the breezy tone of the commercial. The song seems to have just two lyrics — “I love you, baby,” and “Oooh, oooh oooh…” But with some research, I discovered that the complete song is actually a lot darker. “When they fight, they fight. And when they come home at night they say, ‘I love you, baby’…” (It’s by a band called “The Generationals” — and it looks like Amazon’s using yet another new hip band from Louisiana for its Kindle ads….)

It’s not just the perfect song for a Kindle ad. The exact same song was used in a commercial for Bloomingdales, according to the band’s page on Wikipedia. The song’s swinging trumpet and bouncing bassline gives it a groovy ’60s sound — towards the beginning, there’s even a playful “wolf whistle.” But the effect seems to be ironic, since the song is actually chronicling the end of relationship

“He got the message she left on his car, in the rain…. And when it all comes crashing down, what can you do, to find what you’re looking for? And then the words will come to you, driving through the rain. But there’ll be no one there to say them to anyway….”

But at least some couples are still enjoying a lovely holiday together at the beach this summer — at least, judging by Amazon’s Kindle ad.

Kindle in bathing suit back pocket beach ad