As of 26th of September 2009, the Kindle version of The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown is no longer outselling the hardcover on Amazon. Perhaps all of the Kindle crowd who wanted it purchased the book and already have it so the sales peaked and the dropped while folks who read paper books are still generating the steady demand for the hardcover.
The Kindle edition of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol seems to be outselling the Hardcover edition of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol as was first discovered by Kindle Nation Daily. At the time I’m writing this, the Kindle version is still ahead on Amazon’s sales charts.
The main thing to take away from this is the growing power of the Kindle and other eReaders. Having the Kindle sales best the physical sales is the latest step in publishing’s gradual move towards digital media. If more books follow suit, and the gap between digital and hardcover sales widen, digital versions will slowly begin to take precedence over printed ones. I’m going to guess that hardcovers will be the first victims of eBooks, eventually being limited to small, collector-oriented runs.
Of course, the Kindle edition’s success needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Amazon sales charts are updated frequently, so whoever hasn’t necessarily sold more copies overall. In this case, preorders for the hardcover started earlier than preorders for the eBook, somewhat skewing the results. I’m not saying that this means the Kindle version didn’t sell more, but it is something to consider. Also, hardcovers never sell anything close to paperback numbers, which may be much higher than the Kindle sales once they become widely available.
But, at least for now, the Kindle is dominating in the Amazon book store.
Another interesting thing about The Lost Symbol is that it has been made widely available by pirates in ePub and PDF forms. But this didn’t stop the eBook version from outselling the hardcover. This proves my point that people would follow the path of the least resistance. In the case of Kindle buying is easier than stealing so they buy. Back in the time of Audiogalaxy.com it was far easier to download the newly released album (without leaving your home) several days before it hit the stores (that you have to visit in person or wait for several more days before it’s delivered) so people pirated like crazy. Therefore the ease of purchase that is central to Amazon Kindle is the strongest form of DRM.