e books and print sales

E books have been around for some years. I forget just how many but my own business books and novels have been available as e books and still are, with the latest Dead Man's Wharf being released as an e book just before Christmas. (You can find all my e books by clicking on the relevant book page on my official web site or at e book.com.  They're probably also on sale elsewhere, but I'll leave you to hunt for that, if you wish to).  Anyway, a press release from Amazon recently claimed that its Christmas Day e book sales beat the print sales.  Now, I just couldn't let this pass without commenting on it because it is one of those press releases which says absolutely nothing but which was highly successful. Why? 

1. It was timed to perfection - when there was so little news about that it was guaranteed getting in somewhere.
2. It achieved its desired objective of getting into print and on to the Internet (even I'm blogging about it!). 
2. It was from Amazon and Amazon is always news no matter how trivial the story.
3. It was about e books which is the 'hot' topic of the moment as far as the book trade and publishing press are concerned.
4. It mentioned 'Christmas' so a relevant seasonal angle.
5. Its headline and opening paragraph was controversial in that it stated e book sales beat print - it also had the added advantage of being for the 'first' time.

Now this is textbook stuff  for any media communications student, so take note, and the media fell for it generating several column inches in print and many pages on the Internet!

As an ex media person myself, and familiar with this kind of release, I have to say 'well done' to the PR person who came up with this idea and wrote this press release. How to make a story out of absolutely nothing and get mass coverage is indeed the highest accolade for a PR person. And why is this a nothing story? Because there are no figures whatsoever to back up this claim

We don't know how many Kindles Amazon has sold, we don't know how many e books were sold before Christmas or on Christmas day, and we don't know how this compares to print sales.  Furthermore how do Amazon define print sales? Is it someone logging on and ordering a book, which they could certainly do on Christmas Day, or is it when the book is despatched from the warehouse, which certainly won't happen on Christmas Day.

Amazon has always talked a good game, but it would be better for everyone concerned: authors, publishers and all in the book trade, if we could just get our hands on some actual real live figures.  Of course I will know when the e book market really takes off because I will see this in my Royalty statements (and cheques) so fingers crossed for booming business!
And, just in case you wish to read one of the articles on this subject here is a link, below.
Amazon Christmas day e-book sales beat print sales:


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