Did Kindle eBooks Really Sell Well? Or Did the Physical Book Market Simply Tank Big Time?

Interesting observation by Jason Boog on GalleyCat (a MediaBistro blog like this one)…

64 of the 100 Top Kindle Store Bestsellers Are Free

But, if Amazon’s goal is to sell a lot of Kindle devices to kickstart ebook reading, this seems like a good thing to me. It means you have ebook content to read soon after unwrapping your Kindle which was, according to Amazon…

Amazon Kindle is the Most Gifted Item Ever on Amazon.com

The same Amazon press release notes: On Christmas Day, for the first time ever, customers purchased more Kindle books than physical books.

All Things Digital noted the GalleyCat finding and wrote…

The Secret Behind the Kindle’s Best-Selling eBooks: They’re Not for Sale

There are two issues here. GalleyCat and All Things Digital points out the obvious: We don’t know what Amazon means by “purchased” (do “free” books count?). The other issue may be less obvious: Hard copy book sales have been declining for years now. It may be that the downward trend line for physical books finally met the presumably upward trend line for ebooks.

O’Reilly Media’s O’Reilly Radar blog makes periodic analyses specifically about technology books. However, their chart for overall book sales shows that the first half of 2009 was the worst first half-year of sales for the overall book market in this decade…

State of the Computer Book Market – Mid-Year 2009

I wouldn’t be too surprised if that trend was true for the second half too.