Online book sales level at appx. 7% of total

From: Jim Whitehead (
Date: Mon Apr 16 2001 - 13:19:40 PDT

For me, the reasons I have bought fewer books from Amazon in recent months
- Saturation: I have plenty of unread books lying around
- Packaging: Amazon's packaging is excessive at times; I feel bad getting a
box where maybe 10% of the volume is product
- Shipping: Shipping costs add up over time

While I do like the convenience of Amazon, especially for books that are
really focused on a specific topic, in general I like the bookstore
experience better. Although, truth be told, I buy different kinds of books
online. Online purchases tend to be technical, for work, and in-bookstore
purchases tend to be reading for fun.

What does this say about online book sales rising over time? Not sure...

- Jim
Sales Growth in Books Online Is Leveling Off

Last Monday,, which dominates the market for online books with
four times the sales of its nearest competitor, said that its online books,
music and videos business would post "very slight sales growth" in the first
quarter from the comparable period last year. That represented an abrupt
drop for Amazon, whose sales of those products had more than doubled
annually for several years and had risen about 30 percent in 2000.

The slowdown in online book sales is not just at Research from
the National Retail Federation suggests similar trends across the book
industry. Barrie Rappaport, who compiles book sales statistics at the
research group Ipsos-NPD, said her preliminary data indicates the same
that online book sales have basically leveled off for now, at about 7
percent of domestic consumer sales of adult books.

In an interview last week, Jeffrey P. Bezos, chairman of,
acknowledged that the company's book, music and video sales had flattened,
but said he thought online book sales might some day reach 15 percent of
that market, more than double their current level. "People who said it was
going to be 80 percent just got carried away and said dumb things," he said.


"Online sales have pretty much gotten to where it is going to get, and that
is going to have a pretty drastic impact on the book business," said Heather
Dougherty, retail analyst at Jupiter Media Metrix. "Originally, it helped to
make the market bigger people were actually buying more books as a result
of going online. But it is not going to continue to make the book industry
much bigger any longer."

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