Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote a lengthy progress report to shareholders at a recent earnings call. The Seattle based e-commerce giant is not known for divulging specifics, whether its revenue or legitimate figures. Instead, they speak in generalities, which makes it quite hard to gauge exactly how healthy their company is. Today, we are going to look at the essential things he talked about, in regards to Kindle, Prime and eBooks.
Bezos said that the company is “investing heavily on behalf of readers,” and he pointed to such 2013 achievements as the launch of the new, high-contrast Kindle Paperwhite, the integration of the “very impressive” Goodreads into the first and second generation Kindle Paperwhite, and the launch of Kindle in India, Mexico, and Australia. The company also launched various publishing imprints and fan-fiction service Kindle Worlds in 2013.
Audible is really growing up fast. The company is seeing massive success distributing their content via iTunes to customers on the iPad and iPhone. The ACX community is growing strong, where Amazon connects authors and producers to boost the catalog even further. Jeff called 2013 a “landmark year” for Audible, noting that Audible customers downloaded “close to 600 million listening hours” of audiobooks last year. One of the breakout titles of 2013 was the Great Gatsby, which sold 100,000 copies in the movie tie-in.
Amazon Prime has recently increased in cost from $79.99 to $99.99. There aren’t many new incentives to justify the price increase, but Amazon did mention they are expanding on their Sunday delivery service with the US Postal Service. There are “tens of millions of Prime members worldwide,” Bezos wrote and more than 20 million products that are eligible to be shipped under Prime.
What is Amazon planning for the rest of the year? They plan on issuing 500 published novels via their publishing imprints in the US and UK. This stems from books they bid on at the recent London Book Fair and mandated by senior agents and editors. The company will also release three new tablets and 2 new e-readers towards the end of the year. Amazon also has just commercially released Dash and Fire TV. One of the big unknowns is what they intend on doing with the purchase of Comixology.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.