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Amazon: e-books outsell dead-tree copies

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Amazon sold more e-books than physical books during the last three months of 2010, the online retail giant has claimed.

Amazon announced in July 2010 that it was selling more e-books than hardbacks, but that's no cause for amazement because hardback sales have been declining for years and are a small percentage of books sold in any case.

Outselling paperbacks, on the other hand, is a big deal. Arguably even a BIG DEAL.

Amazon sold 115 e-books for every 100 paperbacks it sold, it said.

Not all paperbacks have e-book editions, it's worth remembering. Had they, the e-book lead would undoubtedly have been higher. Though don't forget that not everyone who sought Book A and found it lacked an e-version will have bought the paperback - some will have bought Book B's e-version instead.

That said, e-books are not outselling paperbacks period. And, Kindle aside, it's a lot easier for Amazon to reach this point than most other booksellers.

Since it's entirely an online proposition, going on to the web, ordering a book and having it delivered to a Kindle - or a Kindle app running on an iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows Phone 7 handset - is no more difficult than having the physical copy delivered to your workplace or home.

But the digital copy arrives a darn sight more quickly.

Amazon's Kindle store now has more than 810,000 e-books on its virtual shelves

Amazon didn't say how many Kindles it sold during the quarter, though insiders say it will sell 8m this year, Bloomberg reports. The moles say it shipped 2.4m in 2010. ®

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