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Amazon sales rise as ebooks overtake paperbacks

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Online retail giant Amazon today announced a 26% rise in international sales in the final quarter of its financial year. At the same time it revealed that sales of Kindle books had overtaken those of paperbacks for the first time.

In the international segment of its business, which includes sales in the UK, sales rose to $5.74bn (£3.6bn) in the three months to December 31, compared to the same quarter in 2009. International sales also include Amazon’s German, Japanese, French and Chinese sites as well as its newly-launched Italian business.

The UK site is one of the UK’s largest online retailers, consistently topping the IMRG Experian Hitwise Hot Shops List.

North American sales, including the US and Canada, rose by 45% to $7.21bn (£4.52bn) taking net sales across the group to $12.95bn (£8.12bn) for the quarter.

Over the full year, net sales rose by 40% to $34.2bn (£21.4bn).

Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of, said: “Thanks to our customers we achieved two big milestones. We had our first $10bn quarter, and after selling millions of third-generation Kindles with the new Pearl e-ink display during the quarter, Kindle books have now overtaken paperback books as the most popular format on”

He said the milestone had come “sooner than expected,” after Kindle book sales overtook hardback sales last July, and “on top of continued growth in paperback sales.”

Amazon also said its Price Check price comparison app for iPhone had been used more than two million times in December.

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