Amazon has done what it hoped to accomplish in a couple more years: become a primarily digital market. This month, Amazon reported that eBooks for the Kindle are outselling both hardcover and paperback books.
“We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive. “We’ve been selling print books for 15 years and Kindle books for less than four years1.”
There isn’t too big of a sales gap between eBooks and print: 105 eBooks for the Kindle for every 100 hardcover and paperback books. But the fact the sales numbers are slowly leaning towards digital says something: consumers like the convenience of eBooks.
From an article by Shane Richmond of The Telegraph: “Downloading new titles to an eReader or tablet computer takes seconds and can be done at any time. Kobo, an eBook seller, says that late evening is one of its peak times for sales, as people get ready to go to bed and realize that they have nothing to read2.”
Rumors have it that Amazon’s next move will be into the tablet market3.
Richmond says, “With a flourishing eBook shop, MP3 downloads and the recent acquisition of film rental service Lovefilm, Amazon would seem to have in place many of the features it would need to supply content for a tablet computer4.”
This seems to be an obvious/crucial choice for the company as its main competitor, Barnes & Noble, has also entered the race of the best tablet ever—a race that the Apple iPad has been winning since the tablet market got started.
Damon Poeter of PC Mag says, “Apple currently owns upwards of 80 percent of the media tablet market, despite a growing number of challengers to the iPad like the Motorola Xoom and Blackberry PlayBook.”
If Amazon hopes to challenge the iPad, it needs to offer a product with software that can match Apple’s App Store. One innovation that is making its way into the market is the book app. Writer Gareth Malone says, “Enhanced eBooks provide the opportunity to bring all this stuff to life in a way that you could previously only do on TV.”
Writers such as Al Gore are using the capabilities of the book app to present their books in new ways. Our Choice by Al Gore has charts, illustrations and animations to support the text5.
Book apps are available on the Apple iBookstore, but Apple doesn’t have the experience Amazon has with publishers. If Amazon takes advantage of this new software, it might be able to get a step ahead of the iPad and continue to expand its digital empire.