Jeff Bezos on Kindle & e-Books

Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos in an interview with The New York Times talks about the future of e-readers and the Kindle. Bezos thinks it won’t be long before Amazon is “selling more electronic books than we are physical books.” Here are some key points from the interview :

  • If a book is available on Kindle, it sells 48 copies compared to 100 physical copies sold.
  • Kindle launched with 90,000 titles two years ago.
  • More than 350,000 titles are available for the Kindle now.
  • Amazon is adding thousands of titles to the Kindle library every week.
  • Amazon wants to offer “every book ever printed in every language, all available within 60 seconds.”

I think this last statement outlines Bezos’ ambitions about the business. If it can pull it off, Amazon is going to control the printed word market much like iTunes controls the music business. I think from that perspective, it’s smart for the company to bulk up and build market share, even if it means sacrificing some near-term profitability.

Amazon has a history of losing money on products in order to build market share, and so far has been proved right. I believe that Amazon & Kindle are taking a giant step forward and this is going to pay handsome dividends for the company in the long run.

Some may question Bezos’ strategy, just as many questioned the company’s foray into cloud computing services about three years ago. I remain bullish on Amazon’s prospects mostly because it’s playing offense and taking wild gambles on big markets of the future. As Bezos once said: “People overemphasize their failures when trying something new. Actually failure is not that expensive and it’s part of work.”

That said, the Kindle isn’t doing too badly. According to some estimates, the Amazon Kindle will bring in $310 million in revenue for 2009 and $2 billion in 2012. The company has made some tremendous progress on the Kindle since Bezos spoke to Charlie Rose about it back in March.

Related Research from GigaOM Pro (subscription required.): The Evolution of the e-Book Market and Irrational Exuberance Over e-Books.

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