Amazon sells 2.5 million Harry Potters

No magical effect on profits though

Amazon beat the Street's expectations for its third quarter but still seemed to disappoint traders yesterday. Shares fell sharply in after-hours trading after rising more than ten per cent during the day.

The bookseller also showed exactly how low-margin a low-margin web business can be. Despite turnover of more than $3bn the company made just $80m in profit.

Net sales for the quarter ended 30 September 2007 grew 41 per cent to $3.26bn and net profit was up 313 per cent to $80m.

The biggest release of the year was the latest and last Harry Potter tome - Amazon sold 2.5m copies of the book.

International sales from Germany, Japan, France, China and the UK were $1.47bn, up 40 per cent on the same period of 2006. US sales were up by a similar amount, 42 per cent, to $1.79bn.

Amazon said over 290,000 developers have now signed up to use Amazon Web Services, up 25,000 from the previous quarter. ®

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