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The only thing more perfect than reading is more reading

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From Amazon's Renaissance Of Reading by Richard MacManus

"The only thing more perfect than reading is more reading," 
declared Amazon in a TV advert for its new Kindle eReader device. Amazon's reign over the book publishing kingdom continues to advance.

While Amazon faces stiff competition in the tablet market, in the eReader market Amazon is dominant. The latest version of the Kindle eReader, named the Paperwhite, boasts a higher resolution, front-lit screen and will retail from £130. 

It's a compelling upgrade, but the real reason for Amazon's dominance in the eReader market isn't the hardware - it's Amazon's continued innovation and market power in eBooks.

Kindle eBooks overtook paper books around the beginning of 2011. Kindle eBook sales have trended steeply upwards since then.

It's notable that paper books have also grown, which is evidence of Amazon's power in the book industry. As book shops shut down more and more of their bricks-and-mortar stores, Amazon's e-commerce business continues to increase sales - in both paper books and eBooks.

Another reason for Amazon's increasing book sales is that people are buying more books. 

In a Guardian article last month, described this as a "renaissance of reading." Amazon claims this renaissance was ushered in by the Kindle. 

The UK arm of Amazon told the Guardian that "British Kindle users were buying four times as many books as they were prior to owning a Kindle." That statistic was repeated by Bezos today.

eBook Sales Now 15% Of Total Book Sales

According to BookStats 2012, a mid-year report from the Association of American Publishers and Book Industry Study Group, eBooks made up 15 percent of all trade book sales in 2011. In particular, in 2011 eBooks became the number one format for adult fiction.

OK, most of that is 50 Shades of Grey, The Hunger Games and similar populist fare. But regardless, it's undeniable that eBooks have finally taken hold of the publishing industry.

It isn't just eBook trends and new eReader hardware that is responsible for Amazon's prime position in the book industry. The company is also shaking things up in book publishing and formats.
Kindle Direct Publishing

Amazon's self-publishing service, called Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), gives authors 70% royalties. In a remarkable statistic, Bezos revealed that 27 of the top 100 Kindle books are from the KDP program.

Kindle Singles

Kindle Singles are short-form books that typically sell for a couple of dollars each. Bezos positioned Kindle Singles as halfway between a magazine article (under 5,000 words) and a book (over 30,000 words). 3.5 million Kindle Singles have been sold to date, said Bezos, 35 of which have reached the Kindle Top 50.

Kindle Serials

Today Amazon introduced a new Kindle book format, which harkens back to an old literature publishing strategy: serials. Just as Charles Dickens used to publish his novels in monthly or weekly installments, Kindle authors can choose to release their books in serial form.

From the consumer's point of view, buy the first "episode" and you'll receive all future episodes as they are released.

Amazon is releasing eight serials initially, priced at £1.99 each (which includes all future instalments). In addition, Charles Dickens' books being re-released as Kindle Serials.

Amazon reigns in the book kingdom, which seems to be a good thing for readers and authors. For readers: books are cheaper than ever before, the eReader hardware is getting better. 

Web services are becoming more flexible (serials, singles) and social (Lending Library, Highlights). For authors: there is an easy and attractive self-publishing option (KDP) and more flexibility in format.

The only thing more perfect than reading is more reading

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