Amazon began selling hardcover and paperback books in July 1995. Twelve years later in November 2007, Amazon introduced the revolutionary Kindle and began selling Kindle books. By July 2010, Kindle book sales had surpassed hardcover book sales, and six months later, Kindle books overtook paperback books to become the most popular format on Amazon.com. Today, less than four years after introducing Kindle books, Amazon.com customers are now purchasing more Kindle books than all print books – hardcover and paperback – combined.
The quick rise of the Kindle can be attributed, at least in part, to the steep price cuts Amazon has been making. A year ago the device cost $259. Amazon slashed it to $189 in June 2010, then began offering a Wi-fi only version last summer for $139. And now it’s gone even lower with an ad-supported version for only $114. Amazon says that this new model, which is called ‘Kindle with Special Offers’, is already selling more than the other Kindle devices.
Amazon also says that 2011 has had the fastest year over year growth rate for its U.S. books sales in over a decade, including both eBooks and print — and that Kindle eBook sales are up 3x in 2011 from what they were this time last year.