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Ebooks enjoy sales explosion as hard copies are staying put – on the shelves.

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Amazon’s Kindle eBook reader is now their best selling product, ever, they have announced. 

The gap is closing in on hard copies in the US – 115 Kindles have been sold for every 100 paperbacks so far in 2011 – much to the amazement of the book retailer.

They also sold three times as many Kindle books as hardcover books, they said on Friday. 

Amazon.com didn’t foresee the ebook trend taking off the way it has quite so soon; CEO Jeff Bezos predicted this ebook takeover would only happen in Q2 this year. 

And its not just everyday readers that are getting in on the act – the judges of the Man Booker prize have even been issued with e-readers  to help them adjudicate the books to be shortlisted for this year’s awards.  

Publishers who wish to make entries for the much coveted literary prize will also have to submit publications in both paperback and electronic form.

“This is what the Kindle will do – it’s not going to take over from print, but will offer another way of reading as well.” Man Booker administrator Ion Trewin told the Guardian newspaper.       

Amazon shied away from revealing the exact numbers of the ebook sold although it is believed to be in the region of 8 million.  

 

And the numbers should be even higher, warned the online book king, warning the figures dont tell the full story.

“Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the numbers even higher.”        

The Australian version of the 6″ display Kindle with Wi-Fi, which retails at $139, offers over 540,000 English-language books as well as a range of international newspapers and magazines. 

David Fenlon, Group MD of Redgroup (the company that owns Borders) admitted that Amazon was taking “a huge chunk” of the Australian bookselling industry back in May when Borders announced their competing Kobo e-reader.  

No precise figures for sales of Borders ereader has yet been made available.                        

Google is also trying to replicate the Kindle’s success with its eBooks offering millions of free and fee paying titles.

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