Kindle ebook sales outpace physical copies at Amazon UK

By on August 7, 2012, 7:30 AM

Two years after the Kindle's UK launch, Amazon's digital book sales have outpaced all physical sales. UK readers were introduced to the Kindle in August 2010 and by May of the following year, ebooks were outselling hardcovers in the region at a rate of more than two to one. The latest update includes both hard and softcover books.

Amazon noted that it's particularly thrilled because it reached this milestone in the UK twice as fast as the US, where it took over two years for ebooks to outsell hardcovers by double and nearly four years to pass all physical books. Despite this rapid adoption of digital books, the company notes that its print business has continued to grow. has sold 114 Kindle books for every 100 print books so far in 2012, excluding free Kindle books while including hard copies without digital versions. The company reports that Kindle owners are more inclined to read, buying four times as much material as they did previously. Many of them also continue to buy physical books.

Three of this year's top 10 Kindle authors -- Nick Spalding, Katia Lief and Kerry Wilkinson -- were published via Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), which offers up to 70% of royalties. As usual, Amazon is shy about providing raw sales figures, but it noted that Wilkinson has sold over 300,000 copies of his books since last July, while EL James, author of Fifty Shades of Grey, has broken records on both Amazon's physical and digital fronts, selling over two million Kindle books in only four months.

User Comments: 6

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Guest said:

I am intrigued by the sentence " has sold 114 Kindle books for every 100 print books so far in 2012". Amazed, even, to witness this.

I wonder if the digital phenomenon has taken non-readers into reading just because of the format, or if there was a transition from physical to digital by old time readers.

I cannot even think of reading a book in an e-reader, so I really wonder who are these (human) readers...

(I just noticed how many times I wrote the word "reader". Sorry, readers!)

avoidz avoidz said:

Guess I'm old skool, then. I prefer real books and mags over digital versions any day.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I actually read the first 2 books of Song of Ice and Fire on my tablet, and it wasn't that bad.

But if I had to buy a book, I'd still buy the physical copy. Now if e-books became significantly cheaper than physical books, I might start buying those.

But if they cost as much if not more, well, nobody can revoke my rights to read a physical book. Maybe except the fire department.

GJonesfiction GJonesfiction said:

This has certainly played out with my young adult books. For every paperback copy sold on amazon at least 80 kindle copies have been downloaded. The price has a large impact with a £6 saving on the ebook, but also the novelty, ease and immediate access afforded by the ebook reader.

I might be an I.T. officer and love my laptop and kindle but I still love to browse in a book store though. My latest visit resulted in the purchase of four paperbacks! I find it much easier to browse for new authors and series in a bookstore then follow online with other titles in the series. I hope we don't lose all bookstores. They are also invaluable for their support to authors. Waterstones have been great with me, hosting two booksignings.

Guest said:

I guess this is a sign of the times, though I still read good old paper based books. We have a used book store a block away with books for $2 - $3, it can't be beat.

killeriii said:

How can publishers say they are loosing money to the likes of Google Library in the face of sales like this?

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