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Amazon heralds unstoppable rise of the e-book

Outselling print in the States, hardbacks in Blighty

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E-books are now outselling hardbacks and paperbacks combined, Amazon.com claimed today.

It's UK offshoot, Amazon.co.uk, separately said it is now selling more e-books than hardbacks.

Since 1 April, Amazon.com has sold 105 e-books for every 100 print books. Free e-books have been excluded from the total, it claimed.

In the UK, from that same date, for every 100 hardbacks sold, some 242 e-books are sold by Amazon.co.uk.

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It's worth bearing in mind that not all territories in which Amazon operates have their own Kindle shop, so a fair few of Amazon.com's e-book buyers are outside the US. But folk not resident in the States tend not to buy print books from Amazon.com.

Some do, but their contribution to Amazon.com's print sales will be a lot lower than overseas buyer's contribution to Amazon.com's e-book sales, making the e-book vs print sales mix less clear cut than Amazon's numbers suggest.

Amazon said that print sales are still rising, which indicates that e-book sales growth isn't yet coming at the expense of dead-tree product. Punters who can't get a copy of X for their Kindle will happily buy the paper version rather than wait.

In the UK, unlike the US, e-books warrant sales tax whereas paper books do not. That might favour paper sales over here, though Amazon's discounts are, in our experience, minimising the digital premium paid to the government.

That's particularly the case if you wait, buying an e-book after the release of the paperback version and not dash in as soon as the hardback appears in the shops. ®

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