Amazon market share ‘increases dramatically after Kindle buy’

Amazon market share ‘increases dramatically after Kindle buy’

Amazon's market share of book sales significantly increases once a customer buys a Kindle device, data shown at Frankfurt digital conference Publishers Launch revealed, with delegates warned that a significant "discoverability gap" happens as customers move to digital reading.

Peter Hildick-Smith, founder and president of the Codex Group that surveys book consumers and their buying decisions, said the Kindle device was the "most effective" tool at converting book buyers into loyal [Amazon] customers that he had ever seen.

According to the data, Amazon's market share of book purchases of a non-Kindle owning customer was 27% across all formats in the UK, but that after these customers bought Kindle devices that market share dramatically increased to 61%. In the US, when a book buyer gets a Kindle, Amazon's share of book and e-book purchases more than doubles to 49%, said Hildick-Smith.

The data has major implications for publishers and for Waterstones, which will begin selling Amazon's Kindle devices in its stores in two weeks. Waterstones will take a cut of customer purchases when made through Waterstones' own Wi-Fi, but clearly risk losing customers to Amazon's ecosystem.

Hildick-Smith also explained that customers also became much more reliant on non-book store recommendations after they began purchasing content digitally. Customers without devices found 27% of their books through shops; but once they bought devices this percentage dropped to 17%, with online sellers becoming more influential over sales, their 'discoverability market share' rising from from 11% to 22%

But Hildick-Smith also warned of a "discoverability gap", as the ability to find books in physical spaces was not entirely replaced by the tools to find them online, even though social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Google were beginning to be more useful. The gap also impacted the types of books bought. "Where you get the most open minds are in stores, so if you are looking to break a new author, or develop an author to a new level, physical stores are best."

Hildick-Smith added that publishers needed to finding new ways of marketing to close that discovery gap, but also stressed that physical bookstores remained vital to this. "The bookstore is the theatre, our plea to the publishers is to protect this unique asset, once it has gone, it's not coming back."