It appears that a lower price point for eReaders is stimulating dramatic growth in eBook sales. According to Amazon.com, Kindle device unit sales accelerated each month in the second quarter, both on a sequential month-over-month basis and on a year-over-year basis.
“We’ve reached a tipping point with the new price of Kindle – the growth rate of Kindle device unit sales has tripled since we lowered the price from $259 to $189,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, in a statement.
That “tipping point” represents a moment at which eBook sales overtook sales of hardcover books.
“Amazon.com customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books –astonishing when you consider that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years, and Kindle books for 33 months,” Bezos said.
Over the past three months, for every 100 hardcover books Amazon.com has sold, it has sold 143 Kindle books. Over the past month, for every 100 hardcover books Amazon.com has sold, it has sold 180 Kindle books. Those numbers do not include free Kindle books.
Additional numbers showed that Amazon sold more than three times as many Kindle books in the first half of 2010 as in the first half of 2009. The Association of American Publishers’ latest data reports that eBook sales grew 163 percent in the month of May and 207 percent year-to-date through May.
It’s worth noting that five authors – Charlaine Harris, Stieg Larsson, Stephenie Meyer, James Patterson and Nora Roberts – have each sold more than 500,000 Kindle books.
In June, Barnes & Noble fired up competition in the eReader market with the introduction of a $149 Wi-Fi-only Nook eReader. The company also shaved $60 off its 3G model, bringing the price for that device to $199. Amazon followed suit almost immediately by lowering the price of the Kindle to $189.
Even Borders has gotten in on the act, by launching its own eBook store, Kobo eReader, as well as mobile apps for iPhone and iPad. Borders currently offers the Kobo eReader and Aluratek Libre eReader. The Kobo sells for $150 and the Aluratek goes for $120.
Yankee Group expects sales of eReaders to top $1.2 billion in 2010 and forecasts continued growth, with total sales reaching $3.7 billion in 2013.