Amazon achieves record sales in Q4 2010, Kindle books now outselling paperbacks

January 28, 2011

Strong financial results, a record quarter for sales, and the announcement that Kindle books now outsell both hardcover and paperbacks. And still investors aren’t happy with Amazon.

Amazon continues to be the online retailer to beat. It’s virtually ubiquitous these days, and I suspect there are very few people on the Web in countries where Amazon has a presence that haven’t purchased something from the company at some time. What has really helped rocket Amazon into another league is its Kindle e-reader and the Kindle editions of books sold for the device.

According to the latest financial results, Amazon had a great fourth quarter in 2010, achieving sales of $12.95 billion and net income of $416 million or $0.91 per share. Sales are up 36 percent from $9.52 billion during the same period a year ago, and net income is up $384 million, or $0.85 per share in that time. Which is clearly a great result for a company still trading against the continuing financial hardships faced by many people.

Unfortunately for Amazon investors aren’t seeing it that way, as the company narrowly missed achieving the estimated revenue of $13 billion, even though it sailed past the $0.88 per share that was estimated. This led to share prices dropping by 10 percent during extended trading after the results were released. Investors obviously needed sales to exceed the estimates to give them confidence.

Also revealed in the statement about the financial results was the fact that Kindle books now outsell paperbacks sold on Amazon. Kindle books passed hardcovers last July, and have now passed paperbacks too. The company now claims to sell around three times as many Kindle books as it does hardcovers, and around 115 Kindle books for every 100 paperbacks.

Despite this Amazon still won’t reveal any sales figures for the Kindle hardware, although CEO Jeff Bezos claims the company sold “millions of third-generation Kindles … during the quarter.”

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