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Question of the Day
The company also said Kindle book sales now outpace sales of hardcover books on Amazon. Amazon’s Kindle store now offers more than 630,000 books, including a number of free, out-of-copyright titles. When the device first launched, there were only 90,000.
Bezos expects e-book sales growth to keep up, predicting Kindle books will outsell paperbacks on Amazon.com in the next nine months to a year. Eventually, he expects to sell more Kindle books than hardcovers and paperbacks combined.
“When that happens, because of the convenience of electronic reading, people will just be reading more,” he says.
Although many of them will likely be clicking from page to page on $139 Kindles, plenty of others may not even bother to buy the hardware.
The company offers free Kindle reading software for several devices, including Apple’s iPhone and iPad and smart phones that run Google Inc.’s Android operating software. There’s also software for personal computers. That allows people to access Kindle content whether or not they have a Kindle device; Amazon still makes money selling the e-books.
For the foreseeable future, however, Amazon will need to watch out for competitors such as the iPad and the Nook. While Apple, with its iBookstore e-book store, is less of a threat to the Kindle Store and software, its iPad is a looming presence on the hardware side, McQuivey says. The Nook, meanwhile, is unlikely to catch up to Amazon, he says, but still something the online retailer can’t ignore.
“The question is, are they ready for what they started?” McQuivey asks.
Bezos seems to think so, even as gadgets that can do everything from giving directions to supporting video chat proliferate.
“As far as e-books go, our point of view is that reading can be made better with a purpose-built device,” he says.
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