Kindle eBooks Set New Records

The Kindle Fire tablet is still Amazon’s #1 bestselling product. In fact, it’s been their #1 bestseller ever since Amazon launched it in November. But there’s something even more interesting. The top ten best-selling items at Amazon were all ebooks, Kindles, and other digital products. There’s now not a single printed book among Amazon’s top 10 best-selling items!

As July was ending, I studied the latest news in Amazon’s quarterly report to their investors. It’s a good way to get some insights into exactly how the Kindle is changing the world of books. And sure enough, there was another startling statistic buried deep in Amazon’s sales figures. Between April and June, 20% of Amazon’s best-selling Kindle ebooks were created using Amazon’s own self-publishing platform (“Kindle Direct Publishing.”)

So Amazon’s not just an ebook seller . They’re also now becoming a major ebook publisher. And there’s hints that Amazon may now be earning a lot more money because of the Kindle. I couldn’t find a breakdown between Kindle and non-Kindle sales — but Amazon’s overall sales are now showing a very dramatic increases.

For example, in just April, May, and June, Amazon sold $12.83 billion worth of books, ebooks, and other products. That’s 29% more than it was last year during the same three months. And sales in North America grew even more, by 36%. I see that as one reason to at least suspect that Amazon’s increasing sales can be attributed to the Kindle Store…

If my math is correct, about 43% of Amazon’s sales are actually coming from outside of North America. Sales are growing there too, but at a slower rate — about 22%. So Amazon’s sales seem to be growing
much faster in the United States. And that’s also the country where the Kindle has had the most time to find an audience, since it’s been available in the U.S. for a full five years.

Sometimes I wonder if the Kindle actually increases “customer loyalty” to Amazon — so that Kindle owners are more likely to use Amazon’s web site when they’re shopping for other products. Whatever the case, Amazon’s expecting their higher sales will continue over the nextthree months of 2012, predicting they’ll see an increase of at least 19% over last year’s sales, and maybe even an increase as high as 31%!

And Amazon’s been lining up even more ways to attract you to Amazon products. You can watch over 18,000 movies and TV shows for free now on your Kindle Fire — or online — if you’re subscribed to Amazon’s Prime shipping program. (The Amazon Prime program offers free two-day deliveries for one yearly fee, or overnight delivery for $3.99.) Amazon announced during their quarterly report that there’s now 15 million different items available for Amazon’s Prime shipping program. And those 18,000 movies and TV shows are all also now available on the Xbox 360 console and the PlayStation 3, and even on compatible Blu-Ray players and “smart TVs”.

The most interesting statistic of all is the fact that Amazon’s net income actually dropped during those three months — by 96%! One year ago, they’d racked up $191 million for the same period, but this year they only had $7 million after expenses. About a third of that different went to cover Amazon’s acquisition of a company that uses robots to create automated warehouse systems for filling orders — but what’s Amazon doing with the rest of their profits?

Maybe they’re just spending that money on building the next generation of Kindles…!

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