Amazon Says It Sold More Kindle Books Than Physical Books On Christmas today announced that Kindle has become the most gifted item in Amazon's history. On Christmas Day, for the first time ever, customers purchased more Kindle books than physical books. The Kindle Store now includes over 390,000 books and the largest selection of the most popular books people want to read, including New York TimesBestsellersand New Releases.


How much of that was brought about due to seasonal travel?
Stephen Michael Kellat, MSLS

So what if people are buying these books because of seasonal travel? How does that change the impact of the story?

1. With transportation delays due to snow, did the Kindle via Whisprnet fill a void airport bookstores did not or more importantly could not fill for customers? Inventory replenishment at all sorts of stores at this time of year is on hold until after New Year's Day too which might provide a bump in Kindle book sales.

2. Does heavy use in travel situations skew figures to where it looks like there is general adoption across society of e-book readers when instead adoption is narrower?

3. Are these things being left behind by accident on planes? Tech celebrity Leo Laporte already did that once and narrowly avoided somebody purchasing content using his saved account details.

For Amazon, it is still good news for them to trumpet via the press representation in a news release. There are research questions that could be dug into with that release, though.
Stephen Michael Kellat, MSLS

Here is why more Kindle books sold on Christmas than physical books.

First, the sale of physical books is going to be at it lowest on Christmas day. People are busy celebrating the holiday not shopping for books on Amazon.

Then why is the sale of Kindle books so high on Christmas day?

All the people that got Kindles for gifts are going onto Amazon and buying a book so that they can try out their new toy. If you got a Kindle for Christmas would you not want to have a book to read to try out the device? When the bookstore is in your house and you can get your books instantly there is huge incentive to do that.

I'd agree with your analysis, except for the third paragraph:

"Then why is the sale of Kindle books so high on Christmas day?"

The press release, as is typical for Amazon where Kindle and ebooks are concerned, does not contain actual sales numbers, only comparisons.

I could honestly tell you that my newest book had more "ebook" (PDF download) sales than physical sales on Date X in December--when "more" means one download and zero print.

It's possible (although highly unlikely) that Amazon sold 100 Kindle ebooks on Christmas day--but only 50 print books (after all, who does spend Christmas day ordering physical books that won't arrive for some time to come?--where, if you have a brand-new Kindle, wouldn't you load it up with a couple new books?). More plausible: The Kindle ebooks number could be 500, or 1,000, or 5,000, or 10,000, or--unlikely--100,000. We'll never know--we only know it was "more than" print book sales for what's almost certainly one of the lowest book sales days of the year.

Does their number include free Kindle books? I received a Kindle for Christmas, and as soon as it was charged, I purchased a book. Then I started browsing the free books, and added about 10 books to my Kindle, just because they were free. Free Kindle books should not figure in the comparison, in my opinion.

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