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Amazon in 71% profit surge

Um, let's give the Kindle credit

Amazon simply had a wonderful Christmastime.

In the fourth quarter, the mega-etailer pulled in revenues of $9.52bn, a 42 per cent increase from a year ago, while profits hit $384m, a 71 per cent leap.

In announcing these Q4 results today - a day after the debut of the Apple iPad - Amazon chief Jeff Bezos couldn't help but mention the company's Kindle ereader. "Millions of people now own Kindles," Bezos said in a canned statement. "And Kindle owners read, a lot.

According to Bezos, the company sells six Kindle books for every 10 physical books when it carries a title in both formats. And that includes only paid books.

But Amazon sells far more than books - and as usual, it didn't give specific numbers on Kindle sales or Kindle ebook sales. But there's no doubt the company received a big Q4 boost from Zappos, the shoe efetishist it acquired in November. The outfit provided about $200m in revenue during the quarter.

For all of 2009, Amazon pulled in $24.51bn in revenues, a 28 per cent leap from 2008, and profits reached $902m, a 40 per cent increase.

Fourth quarter numbers beat the expectations of the Wall Street guessmen, and Amazon shares were up 3 per cent in after-hours trading. ®

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