With so much enthusiasm—aided by a good dose of marketing and technological evolution—surrounding e-book readers, it was bound to happen sooner or later: sales of electronic books topped their paper-based cousins for the first time this past Christmas day, according to Amazon.com
In a press release on its site, Amazon’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos mentions that the Kindle was the “most-gifted product”in the company’s history; although the release makes no mention of actual sales numbers, it does note that the Kindle sales surpassed both the 8GB iPod touch and Garmin’s Nuvi 260W GPS device to claim the top spot in the electronics category (and in overall sales).
Given the timing of the event, it’s likely that the spike in e-book sales recorded by Amazon was due primarily to the high number of gift recipients who opened up the brand-new Kindles they found under their Christmas trees; nonetheless, this milestone could represent a watershed event for the inexorable rise of e-book readers in general, and the Kindle in particular.
The company also reported that December 14 was Amazon’s busiest day of the holiday shopping season: on that Monday, Amazon processed sales of 9.5 million items worldwide—or about 110 per second on average. Perhaps more impressively, the e-tailing managed to deliver a Kindle that was purchased by a Seattle-area customer on Christmas Eve within three hours of sale.
Amazon’s Kindle 2 and Kindle DX were just two of several devices that Macworld reviewed in its comprehensive e-book reader review roundup earlier this month.