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E-books outsell hardbacks on Amazon

Amazon, the online retailer and owner of the Kindle e-reader, has announced that digital books have been consistently outselling hardback books for the last three months in the US.

The company has revealed that it has been selling 143 e-books for every 100 hardcover books over the course of the second quarter of 2010.

The outpacing of digital books versus hardbacks is also accelerating, as during the last month alone, Amazon.com has sold 180 Kindle e-books for every 100 hardcovers.

Amazon says its Kindle bookstore now offers more than 630,000 e-books, with an additional 1.8 million out-of-copyright e-books made available for free.

The company has sold three times as many e-books in the first six months of 2010, as it did during the first half of 2009.

The increased uptake in e-books can partially be explained by the recent slashing of e-readers’ prices, including Amazon’s own device, the Kindle.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, said in a statement that “the growth rate of Kindle device unit sales has tripled since we lowered the price from $259 to $189” but failed to give any sales figures.

Amazon and other e-reader manufacturers, such as the US-only Barnes and Noble bookstore – which own the Nook, have been forced to slash prices after Apple launched iBooks, a rival e-book store, when it announced the iPad, its first tablet-style computer in January.

E-books are also much cheaper than hardbacks, with the average digital book costing less than $10 (€7.75), while a hardcover usually costs around $26 (€20) on Amazon.

Amazon also offers Kindle e-book readers for the iPhone, iPad, Android phones, Blackberry, Windows PCs and Apple Mac –which means if a Kindle user breaks their device, they will still be able to access the e-books they have purchased.

© Telegraph.co.uk