Continuing the trend of examining Amazon’s confusing “growth” numbers, CNet executive editor David Carnoy (who has also received TeleRead coverage concerning his e-book Knife Music) has looked at Amazon’s announcement and is asking some interesting questions for which there are no really good answers.
Apart from nobody really knowing what “growth” means, Carnoy wonders about revenues now that Amazon is forced to conform to agency pricing for 5 out of the big 6 publishers. He wonders how many of those “growth” titles are self-published e-books, many of which cost well under $5. Is Amazon gaining or losing e-book market share overall? How are specific genres, such as romance, doing?
He also quotes some interesting CNet statistics:
I can’t give out exact numbers, but after the price drop to Amazon’s and Barnes & Noble’s e-readers, the number of people reading reviews of Nook e-readers (Nook 3G/WiFi, Nook WiFi-only) is three times the number of people reading reviews of Amazon Kindles e-readers (includes the Kindle and Kindle DX). Sony Readers are third in terms of interest from our readers. To be sure, our top products list skews these numbers (the Kindle and both Nooks all have 4-star reviews), so take them with a grain of salt. Undoubtedly, a lot of people simply buy the Kindle (or Nook) without ever reading a CNET review. After all, the Kindle–or Kindle apps–are promoted front and center on the Amazon home page virtually every day. With millions of people checking in each day, it’s no wonder the Kindle is the best selling product on Amazon.
As commenters to David Rothman’s article pointed out, Amazon gains no competitive benefit from revealing the sales figures, and indeed would stand to lose the benefit of the uncertainty surrounding the platform. Don’t expect to see exact numbers revealed any time soon.