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Amazon says e-book sales of best-sellers double print

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Oct 25, 2010
Amazon customers are buying Kindle digital versions of the top 10 best-selling books more than twice as often as print copies, the online retail giant said Monday.

"Kindle books are also outselling print books for the top 25, 100, and 1,000 bestsellers -- it's across the board," said Steve Kessel, senior vice president of Amazon Kindle.

"This is remarkable when you consider that we've been selling hardcover and paperback books for 15 years, and Kindle books for just 36 months," Kessel said in a statement.

Amazon announced in July that sales of electronic books for the Kindle have overtaken hardcover book sales.

Kessel said that "for the top 10 best-selling books on Amazon.com, customers are choosing Kindle books over hardcover and paperback books combined at a rate of greater than two to one."

Amazon said it sold more than three times as many Kindle books in the first nine months of this year as in the first nine months of 2009.

Amazon does not release actual sales figures for the Kindle but the company said the latest generation Kindles introduced in July are the fastest-selling Kindles yet and the best-selling products on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

"It's still October and we've already sold more Kindle devices since launch than we did during the entire fourth quarter of last year -- astonishing because the fourth quarter is the busiest time of year on Amazon," Kessel said.

"It's clear that this is going to be the biggest holiday for Kindle yet by far," he said.

Amazon unveiled two new versions of its Kindle electronic reader in late July, including one that sells for 139 dollars, its lowest price yet.

Amazon cut the price of the Kindle and revamped the line in the face of a threat in the e-reader market from Apple's iPad and companies like Sony and bookstore Barnes & Noble, which also offer e-readers.

earlier related report
Once hot Digg slashes staff by over one-third
Washington (AFP) Oct 25, 2010 - Digg, the news-sharing site once one of the hottest destinations on the Web, announced Monday it was cutting over one-third of its staff in a bid to try to be profitable next year.

Matt Williams, who took over as chief executive of Digg.com six weeks ago, said the San Francisco-based start-up was slashing its staff from 67 employees to 42.

"The fact is our business has a burn rate that is too high," Williams said in a memo to staff posted on the Digg website. "We must significantly cut our expenses to achieve profitability in 2011."

Digg users, known as "Diggers," submit stories to the site and items are ranked by popularity or interest. Many leading news websites provide a link asking readers whether they want to "Digg" a story.

Williams said his top priority since becoming CEO of Digg, which was founded by Web entrepreneur Kevin Rose in 2004, was taking a "hard look at the entire business, across product, sales, and operations."

"Many things are working well," he said. "Our Diggable ads product has seen a notable increase in use by advertisers and clicks by users."

"Unfortunately, to reach our goals, we have to take some difficult steps," Williams said, adding that the move to reduce staff has been "an incredibly tough decision."

"I wish it weren't necessary," he said. "However, I know it's the right choice for Digg's future success as a business."

Williams took over the reins at Digg after a revamp of the website in August met with a poor reception from members of the Digg community.

In a blog post earlier this month, the new CEO apologized for upsetting Digg users and rolled back a number of the more unpopular changes.

According to Williams, Digg had 23 million unique visitors in September.

The cutbacks announced on Monday come two years after Digg announced major expansion plans that were to have seen the company increase its staff to more than 150 employees.




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TECH SPACE
HP unveils 'Slate 500' tablet computer for professionals
Washington (AFP) Oct 22, 2010
Hewlett-Packard unveiled a Windows-powered touchscreen tablet computer on Friday aimed at professionals, the latest entry into a growing market dominated by Apple's iPad. The "HP Slate 500," which features an 8.9-inch (22.6-centimeter) screen, slightly smaller than the iPad's 9.7-inch (24.6-cm) display, costs 800 dollars, about the same price as the top-of-the-line iPad. While the iPad i ... read more

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