Predictions for the Kindle’s death at the hands of the iPad appear to have been premature as Amazon on Monday reported strong growth in sales of its popular e-reader after dropping the price to US$189.
“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.
The company said millions of people are already reading e-books on Kindles, but it did not name an exact number of Kindles sold.
Apple last month said it had already sold 3 million iPads.
Speculation on whether the iPad would kick Kindle off the market started after Apple announced its first 1 million iPads sold, in just 28 days. At the time, Apple also said that over 1.5 million e-books had already been downloaded from the new iBookstore. The hefty volume of downloads prompted forecasts that Amazon.com’s e-book sales would take a hit.
Amazon on Monday said its sales of Kindle books have overtaken hardcover book sales.
The number of Kindle books (e-books) sold by Amazon.com has outpaced the number of hardcover books 143 to 100 over the past three months, the company said, and it has sold three times as many Kindle books in the first half of this year as compared to the first half of last year.
The U.S. Kindle Store has more than 630,000 books for sale and another 1.8 million free out-of-copyright e-books.
The company excluded the number of free Kindle books from the other figures.
Kindle devices differ from iPads mainly in their screens, capabilities, battery life, price and weight. Kindles use e-reader screens which are normally monochrome or black and white, have no backlight, and are meant to mimic the experience of reading a normal book. The screens are low power, giving e-readers weeks of battery life, compared to up to 10-hours of battery power for an iPad. iPads use LCD technology in their touchscreens and have LED (light emitting diode) backlights, which require more power. Software is tweaked to make text easier on the eyes to read. The iPad is also a small computer with Internet and video capabilities, in addition to its use for e-books.
Finally, the $189 Kindle weighs 10.2 ounces, compared to the lowest cost iPad, $499, which weighs 24 ounces.