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Official: E-Books Sales Overtake Print Sales
Amazon announced this week that e-book sales did better than the sale of paperbacks. Amazon stated that for every 100 print books, it sold 105 e-books. It's not a huge difference but it's a strong step for the digital market.

After the reports over the past few months that digital texts have outperformed hardback sales, Amazon announced this week that digital sales outperformed paperback sales for the first time since it entered into the digital market. The market has been taken by surprise by this announcement and even the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, stated "We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly — we’ve been selling print books for 15 years and Kindle books for less than four years." What this means for the digital market is that it is now outperforming all other printed markets in sales but does it necessarily mean that the digital market is more profitable?

With this announcement comes the importance question of profitability, sales are a key factor in driving support for the digital market but there is a notable difference in pricing between a digital text and that of a printed text. For example, many emerging authors price their books at a nominal rate in order to increase sales whereas the associated costs with printed texts means that the price will never usually fall below £5.00 for a paperback book, even higher for a hardback book. If all of the sales were at the higher end of pricing for paperbacks and most of the sales for digital texts were at the lower end, there is going to be a disparity between profits.

Don't be disheartened by this fact. I have always maintained that lower prices are an important factor in stimulating demand and interest in digital texts. While many main-stream publishers have failed to accept that concept and continue to price their digital texts as they do paperbacks, most emerging authors will state quite proudly that they price their books at a nominal rate in order to drive up demand. There are success stories - those people who have gone from a self-publisher in the digital market to being acquired by a major publisher. The Bookseller only recently reported the story of Amanda Hocking who published her book in April 2010 on the Kindle and went on to achieve one million sales.

If you view Amanda Hocking's page on Amazon, most of her books are priced below £1.00. If she achieved one million sales with her first book which was priced at £0.49, she would have still made a gross amount of £490,000. This success can only be achieved by driving up demand using excellent marketing strategies, low pricing and a superb book. If the digital market continues to make strides as it has done over the last few months, the future of literature looks very strong indeed.