Amazon UK has reported today that for the first time, online ebook sales are surpassing print. This is a huge growth, considering Amazon only entered the United Kingdom two years ago and started to offer e-readers and ebooks.
According to unaudited figures issued by Amazon today, since the start of 2012 customers downloaded 114 ebooks for every 100 hardback and paperback book sold on its site. Amazon said the figures included sales of printed books, which did not have Kindle editions, but excluded free ebooks. Amazon reported that “As soon as we started selling Kindles it became our bestselling product on Amazon.co.uk so there was a very quick adoption … [And they] are buying four times more books prior to owning a Kindle,” an Amazon spokeswoman said. “Generally there seems to be… a love of a reading and a renaissance as a result of Kindle being launched.”
Amazon recently partnered up with Waterstones, which helped the company gain visibility in over a hundred retail locations in the UK. This provides the average customer with the opportunity to try the device and see it in action.
One of the big proponents to the success of digital ebook sales in the UK are mainly attributed to 50 Shades of Grey. The book has sold almost two million online copies in the last few months.
Jorrit Van der Meulen, vice-president of Kindle EU, told the Guardian newspaper that “Customers in the UK are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books, even as our print business continues to grow. We hit this milestone in the US less than four years after introducing Kindle, so to reach this landmark after just two years in the UK is remarkable and shows how quickly UK readers are embracing Kindle. As a result of the success of Kindle, we’re selling more books than ever before on behalf of authors and publishers.”
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.