Amazon Kindle ebook sales overtake paperbacks

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Sales of Kindle ebook titles now outnumber traditional paperback releases, online retail giant Amazon.com reports. Amazon now sells 115 Kindle titles for every 100 paperbacks sold--in addition, ebook sales now outnumber hardcover sales by a three-to-one margin. Amazon adds that the sales metrics include sales of books where there is no equivalent Kindle edition--in addition, free Kindle titles are excluded, with the retailer noting that if free ebooks were included in its sales breakdown, the discrepancy between Kindle downloads and traditional print sales would grow even wider.

Amazon's net sales increased 36 percent in Q4 2010 to $12.95 billion--net income grew 8 percent to $416 million, while operating income slipped to $474 million, off from $476 million a year ago. Amazon states it sold millions of third-generation Kindle ereader devices in Q4, with the unit surpassing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as the bestselling product in the company's history. The U.S. Kindle Store now offers than 810,000 ebooks, including 107 of 112 New York Times Bestsellers. The Kindle Store also boasts millions of free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 titles. Along with ereader devices, Amazon also offers Kindle apps for smartphone and tablet platforms including the iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry.

Earlier this month, Amazon launched its Appstore Developer Portal, confirming long-rumored plans to roll out an Android application storefront later in 2011. Applications available in the Amazon Appstore for Android will operate on all smartphones and tablets running Android 1.6 and above; the storefront will leverage the retailer's signature recommendation and merchandising solutions to boost app discovery, extending beyond software download histories to suggest app purchases based on the customer's complete Amazon shopping history.

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