Amazon sales leap as e-books outsell paperbacks

Amazon reported a 36% jump in sales for the fourth quarter as sales of its Kindle e-books outsold paperbacks in the US for the first time.


Sales surged to $12.95bn (£8.2bn) in the three months to December, up from $9.52bn (£8.09m) in the fourth-quarter of 2009, and profit rose 8% in the three months to December to $416m (£353.4m).

Amazon’s reported profit was slightly lower than analysts’ predictions largely due to the retailer offering discounts and free delivery over the Christmas period to attract customers.

Operating margins declined to 3.7%, from 5% at the end of 2009, and the online retailer warned it may slip further in the first three months of 2011 as it invests in technology, new distribution centres and acquisitions in order to grow the business.

Earlier this month, Amazon took full control online film rental service LoveFilm, buying the 58% in the company it did not already own for an undisclosed sum.

In the US, Amazon says sold 115 e-books for the Kindle for every 100 paperback books bought but declined to report specific sales figures.

Founder and CEO of Jeff Bezos says: “Thanks to our customers, we achieved two big milestones: we had our first $10bn quarter and after selling millions of third-generation Kindles with new Pearl e-ink display during the quarter, Kindle books have now overtaken paperback books as the most popular format on”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here