Amidst all of the discussion about the iPhone 3G that hits stores tomorrow, another industry changing gadget is getting overlooked. According to Time Magazine: "On a title-by-title basis, of the 130,000 titles available on Kindle and in physical form, Kindle sales now make up over 12% of sales for those titles.... At a technology trade conference in May, CEO Jeff Bezos said that Kindle sales accounted for 6% of book titles sold for the Kindle and in print. So Amazon appears to be selling more e-books."
Those are big numbers. 12% of sales for books that are available in print AND on the Kindle are purchased for the Kindle - which is meaningful because:
- Best-sellers and popular titles are available on the Kindle, whereas the long tail isn't yet... meaning that the sales volume is significant
- Considering Amazon's size, 12% of purchases represents real demand and volume
- Amazon's margin on e-books (I'm assuming) is far greater than with regular books... not considering the associated revenue / value of a Kindle customer vs. a normal Amazon.com user
I had the chance to play with the Kindle over the July 4th weekend and am very impressed. The usability is fantastic. The product feels terrific and the readability really is natural. And considering that I traveled with five different books, the ability to store tens of books on a pencil-thin device is super attractive.
My only complaints are around pricing (still restrictively expensive) and its inability to either surf the web or access blog / rss content free-of-charge. I will buy a Kindle at some point - but will likely wait until the price comes down (it's already fallen to $359) and the second version comes out... until then, I'll continue to be part of the 88% who tote around books.