Amazon is selling e-books like hot-cakes. The company has been so successful with its Kindle strategy that it is now selling more e-books than hard-cover books. It was bound to happen. While Amazon wants us to believe that most of its success is due to its Kindle device, one has to applaud Amazon for realizing that the future is software and not hardware. Amazon Kindle hardware may have converted a lot of people from paper-books to e-books, but there is a limit to what Amazon can achieve by focusing on its hardware business.
Jeff Bezos sounds very happy with what Amazon has accomplished so far:
We’ve reached a tipping point with the new price of Kindle–the growth rate of Kindle device unit sales has tripled since we lowered the price from $259 to $189…. In addition, even while our hardcover sales continue to grow, the Kindle format has now overtaken the hardcover format. Amazon.com customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books–astonishing, when you consider that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years and Kindle books for 33 months.
Mr. Bezos knows how to spin it. Let’s face it. A lot of people mix up Kindle platform and Kindle hardware when discussing the future of Amazon Kindle. Amazon may be selling many e-books, but Amazon Kindle is no longer the sole leader in the e-reader market. Let’s not forget that people do not want to pay more than they have to for their books. Hardcover books are much more expensive than their digital counterparts. That has most likely helped Amazon as well.
It would be very interesting to see how Amazon’s free apps have helped the company expand its e-book business. Considering that one does not need to own a Kindle to buy Kindle books, a sales breakdown per each mobile device could be very eye opening (iPad, Blackberry, ..).
Amazon is going to stay a big player in the e-book industry for years to come. It’s just not clear whether Kindle hardware will be around for that long.
Your take: should Amazon continue developing new Kindle hardware?