Amazon Now Selling More Kindle Books Than Paperbacks

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News Posted: Fri, Jan 28 2011 12:55 PM
Times may have been tough for the corporate world in 2009, but things are definitely different now that it's 2011. A lot of companies are finishing up their 2010 earnings with Q4 announcements this week, with Amazon having a particularly great outlook. The company managed to score their first $10 billion quarter (talking about sales), with a grand total of $12.95 billion in net sales, representing a 36% leap over Q4 2009.

Operating cash flow increased 6% to $3.50 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $3.29 billion for the trailing twelve months ended December 31, 2009. Free cash flow decreased 14% to $2.52 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $2.92 billion for the trailing twelve months ended December 31, 2009. Net income increased 8% to $416 million in the fourth quarter, or $0.91 per diluted share, compared with net income of $384 million, or $0.85 per diluted share, in fourth quarter 2009. That's the key aspect, and that means that Amazon's making some serious money.


So where did the Kindle fit into all of this, not to mention the Kindle bookstore? Both played a very important role, with company CEO Jeff Bezos confirming in the latest press release that "millions" of third-gen Kindles were sold in Q4 2010, a critical holiday period. Also, Kindle books have now overtaken paperback books as the most popular format on Amazon.com. Since the beginning of the year, for every 100 paperback books Amazon has sold, the Company has sold 115 Kindle books. Additionally, during this same time period the Company has sold three times as many Kindle books as hardcover books. This is across Amazon.com’s entire U.S. book business and includes sales of books where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the numbers even higher.

Those are fairly impressive numbers, and it makes clear that the e-reader has a real future. Tablets may be the hot topic, but the Kindle is still alive and well in the shadows.

 Amazon.com Announces Fourth Quarter Sales up 36% to $12.95 Billion

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced financial results for its fourth quarter ended December 31, 2010.

    “Thanks to our customers, we achieved two big milestones”

Operating cash flow increased 6% to $3.50 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $3.29 billion for the trailing twelve months ended December 31, 2009. Free cash flow decreased 14% to $2.52 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $2.92 billion for the trailing twelve months ended December 31, 2009.

Common shares outstanding plus shares underlying stock-based awards totaled 465 million on December 31, 2010, compared with 461 million a year ago.

Net sales increased 36% to $12.95 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $9.52 billion in fourth quarter 2009. Excluding the $139 million unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales would have grown 37% compared with fourth quarter 2009.

Operating income was $474 million in the fourth quarter, compared with $476 million in fourth quarter 2009. The unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter on operating income was $18 million.

Net income increased 8% to $416 million in the fourth quarter, or $0.91 per diluted share, compared with net income of $384 million, or $0.85 per diluted share, in fourth quarter 2009.

“Thanks to our customers, we achieved two big milestones,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. “We had our first $10 billion quarter, and after selling millions of third-generation Kindles with the new Pearl e-ink display during the quarter, Kindle books have now overtaken paperback books as the most popular format on Amazon.com. Last July we announced that Kindle books had passed hardcovers and predicted that Kindle would surpass paperbacks in the second quarter of this year, so this milestone has come even sooner than we expected – and it’s on top of continued growth in paperback sales.”

Full Year 2010

Net sales increased 40% to $34.20 billion, compared with $24.51 billion in 2009. The unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the year on net sales was $86 million.

Operating income increased 25% to $1.41 billion, compared with $1.13 billion in 2009. The unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the year on operating income was $28 million. In 2009, operating income was negatively impacted by a $51 million legal settlement.

Net income increased 28% to $1.15 billion in 2010, or $2.53 per diluted share, compared with net income of $902 million, or $2.04 per diluted share, in 2009.

Highlights

    * Amazon.com is now selling more Kindle books than paperback books. Since the beginning of the year, for every 100 paperback books Amazon has sold, the Company has sold 115 Kindle books. Additionally, during this same time period the Company has sold three times as many Kindle books as hardcover books. This is across Amazon.com’s entire U.S. book business and includes sales of books where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the numbers even higher.
    * The Company sold millions of third-generation Kindle devices with the new advanced paper-like Pearl e-ink display in the fourth quarter and the third-generation Kindle eclipsed “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” as the bestselling product in Amazon’s history.
    * The U.S. Kindle Store now has more than 810,000 books including New Releases and 107 of 112 New York Times Bestsellers. Over 670,000 of these books are $9.99 or less, including 74 New York Times Bestsellers. Millions of free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books are also available to read on Kindle.
    * Amazon added to its growing list of “Buy Once, Read Everywhere” Kindle apps, launching a Kindle app for Windows Phone 7. In addition, the Kindle for Android app was updated to enable users to buy, read and sync over 100 Kindle newspapers and magazines. All Kindle apps let customers “Buy Once, Read Everywhere”—on Kindle, Kindle 3G, Kindle DX, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Mac, PC, BlackBerry and Android-based devices. All Kindle apps are free and incorporate Amazon’s Whispersync technology, which allows readers to seamlessly switch between devices. With Kindle Worry-Free Archive, books purchased from the Kindle Store are automatically backed up online in the Kindle library on Amazon where they can be re-downloaded wirelessly for free, anytime.
    * The Company announced Price Check for iPhone, a new price comparison app that provides shoppers an easy way to compare in-store prices with the low prices from Amazon.com and other online merchants. Shoppers can use the app to scan a barcode, snap a picture, or say or type a product name to instantly see online prices for that item. Over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend, mobile shoppers used Price Check to look up prices over a million times. In December, shoppers used the app more than two million times to check prices.
    * North America segment sales, representing the Company’s U.S. and Canadian sites, were $7.21 billion, up 45% from fourth quarter 2009.
    * International segment sales, representing the Company’s U.K., German, Japanese, French, Chinese and Italian sites, were $5.74 billion, up 26% from fourth quarter 2009. Excluding the unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, sales grew 29%.
    * Worldwide Media sales grew 12% to $5.23 billion. Excluding the unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, sales grew 13%.
    * Worldwide Electronics & Other General Merchandise sales grew 60% to $7.39 billion. Excluding the unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, sales grew 62%.
    * The Company launched Amazon.it, an Italian-language website offering customers a vast selection of books, DVDs, video games, music and consumer electronics at everyday low prices. Amazon.it’s convenient services include Amazon Prime, the membership program with unlimited free guaranteed 2-3 day delivery at an annual fee of 9.99 Euros. The first product sold on Amazon.it was a Canon Pixma printer to a new Prime customer in Turino, Italy.
    * Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced lowered usage pricing on existing Premium Support offerings by 50% and added two new support plans to meet the needs of developers and enterprises of all sizes and technical ability. In addition to the existing Silver and Gold support plans, AWS now offers a Bronze support plan for $49 per month and a Platinum support plan that provides 15 minute response times and dedicated Technical Account Managers.
    * AWS achieved Level 1 Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance, continuing its commitment to providing the security certifications developers and enterprises care about. Merchants and other service providers can now run their applications on AWS PCI-compliant technology infrastructure to store, process and transmit credit card information in the cloud.
    * AWS launched Elastic Beanstalk, an easy way for developers to quickly deploy applications to AWS and manage applications in the AWS cloud. Elastic Beanstalk automatically scales up and down as needed so developers don’t need to worry about configuring their infrastructure requirements in AWS. Unlike existing application containers or “platform as a service” offerings that force developers to accept infrastructure decisions pre-determined by the vendor, Elastic Beanstalk allows developers to “open the hood” to tinker with the AWS resources powering their applications. AWS customers can now choose to have as much automation or as much control as they wish.
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coolice replied on Sat, Jan 29 2011 8:55 PM

Wow... a 36% leap from last year.... thats impressive!!

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I've been seeing a bunch on campus these days. So I believe the increase. The price of a book on one of these is pretty good. I can't say that it beats holding a nice hardcover book though.

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realneil replied on Sun, Jan 30 2011 9:06 AM

mentaldisorder:
I can't say that it beats holding a nice hardcover book though.

It's a good physical experience reading with them. (easy on the eyes) The Nook isn't bad either. Both have decent battery life and cool features too. I'm reading my first hardbound book in over a year right now, but I read a ton of books on the Kindle last year. I read all three Stieg Larsson books in 5 days recently.

Amazon's raging success with Kindle this last quarter probably has to do with the fact that they finally lowered the price of them into the realm of affordability for people who are now living on tighter budgets than in the past. $135.00 is a fair price for one of them.

This tactic is something that would also work for the companies making SSD drives, but they seem to be determined to squeeze every last penny from each and every drive that they sell.

I never bought my Kindle, or the Nook that I just got. My daughter sent both of them to me as gifts. Gift Books are available in many places for them, and most classic books are free to just download and read.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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fat78 replied on Sun, Jan 30 2011 10:48 PM

I love my kindle alot cheaper and faster when buying books,but there still are certain books i prefer to read with that physical feel.

The amazon kindle and nook ebook software has helped me alot with studying since i pretty much carry my phone anywheres i can always have my books with me. Also the sharing feature across devices and other amazon account has let me save money by reading books bought from family and friends.

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