August 8, 2012, 2:32 PM

Amazon now sells more Kindle books than print books in the U.K.

For every 100 print books sold, consumers buy 114 Kindle books.

Abdul Montaqim
Lead Photo

Amazon’s U.K. web site is selling more Kindle books than print books, the company says on the second anniversary of the Kindle e-book reader’s launch in the British market. So far in 2012, for every 100 print books Amazon sells on its U.K. site, it sells 114 Kindle books, the e-retailer says.

“Customers in the U.K. are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books, even as our print business continues to grow,” says Jorrit Van der Meulen, vice president, Kindle EU. “We hit this milestone in the U.S. less than four years after introducing Kindle, so to reach this landmark after just two years in the U.K. is remarkable and shows how quickly U.K. readers are embracing Kindle.”

Amazon launched its U.K. Kindle business in August 2010. That included the introduction of the Kindle device, and the Kindle Direct Publishing platform, which gives independent authors and larger publishers the opportunity to open accounts with Amazon and start selling their books in the Kindle format.

The number of authors and publishers in the U.K. using the Kindle Direct Publishing platform has increased more than 400% over the past year, Amazon says.

“As a result of the success of Kindle, we’re selling more books than ever before on behalf of authors and publishers,” Van der Meulen says. “And thanks to Kindle Direct Publishing, thousands of self-published authors have also been given an outlet to share their work with the millions of Kindle readers worldwide.”

Kindle books first outsold hardcover books in the U.K. by a ratio of two-to-one in May 2011, the company says. U.K. Kindle owners are now buying four times the number of books from Amazon than they did prior to owning a Kindle device.  And Kindle owners continue to buy physical books as well, Amazon says.

The Kindle publishing platform has helped authors such as E.L. James reach a much broader audience than traditional print books alone, Amazon says. James has sold more than 2 million Kindle books in four months in the U.K. The author’s total number of print and Kindle sales combined make her the best-selling author of all time on Amazon.co.uk, eclipsing J.K. Rowling, according to Amazon.

The company says its 10 most popular authors of 2012 in the Amazon.co.uk Kindle store are: E.L. James, Suzanne Collins, Stieg Larsson, James Patterson, Lee Child, Nick Spalding, S.J. Watson, George R.R Martin, Katia Lief and Kerry Wilkinson.

Three of these top authors—Nick Spalding, Katia Lief and Kerry Wilkinson—publish through Kindle Direct Publishing. The other seven are with larger traditional publishers that work with Amazon to make their books available in the Kindle store, says an Amazon spokeswoman.

Spalding has sold nearly 250,000 copies of his Kindle books on Amazon’s U.K. web site, while Wilkinson has sold more than 300,000 of her books to Kindle readers worldwide.

Kindle’s publishing platform allows independent authors and small publishers to publish books in the Kindle format, and sell them through the Kindle store on the Amazon web site. They can set the price themselves, and Amazon takes 30% on books priced $2.99 and above and 65% on books below $2.99.

More than a million books are available for purchase at Amazon’s U.K. Kindle store, and more than half a million of those books are priced at £3.99 (U.S. $6.23) or less, the company says.

U.K. consumers also can read Kindle books using Kindle reading apps available for devices including the iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Android-based devices, and personal computers running Windows or the Macintosh operating system.

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