The Kindle has been around since November 2007 and Amazon has yet released any sales figures. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Amazon has sold anywhere between 40,000 – 140,000 Kindle units per month and that e-book sales are on the increase accounting for 12% of title sales at Amazon.com. Whilst the Kindle hasn’t been a runaway success for Amazon, it has been a hit amongst readers and is slowly gaining acceptance amongst consumers.
Since its launch in 1995, Amazon has become a leviathan in the publishing industry, this spelt good news for the consumers, but not so good for the publishers. Amazon flexed its might in March this year by declaring that if publishers didn’t use Amazon’s in house print on demand wing called BookSurge then the “Buy” button on the Amazon page for their books will be removed. They could then only sell their books on Amazon through a third party.
This amounted to a antitrust suit being filed against Amazon in March of this year, the case is ongoing, Amazon filed for the case to be dismissed, the judge will decide on August 21st if the case can proceed.
The once mighty publishing industry is facing troubling times, with tighter margins on books and more competition from magazines and online publications, publishers are left with little option but to bow to Amazons wishes. Amazon’s cut is 65% when publishing book on the DTP and 25% when published on Mobipocket which gives Amazon even more power over the publishers. Removing their books from Amazon is not an option for many publishers simply because of the amount of revenue they will lose, precious revenue they cannot afford to lose.
The Kindle seems has tightened Amazons grip on the publishers, and as Kindle growth surges it will put the publishers in an even worse position.