Mention Amazon and most people think of the online store that sells anything you can think of.
However, you may not realize that Amazon started out selling books online.
Jeff Bezos started Amazon from his garage in 1994.
It wasn’t so much a dream as an avoidance of regret.
How philosophy was to reduce the likelihood of regret later in life, dabbling in internet sales was something he felt he might regret.
After extensive research, Bezos decided that books were an excellent product to sell online.
They were plentiful in supply and still popular to read.
Of course, he quickly realized that he didn’t have to limit himself to books, and started to sell other items.
Interestingly, despite becoming a multi-billion dollar company, books are still an important part of the business, as the Amazon book sales statistics demonstrate.
In the early 2000s, Amazon also created AWS (Amazon Web Services), allowing people to access on-demand cloud computing platforms and storage.
That’s just one of many expansions and acquisitions the company has done over the years.
Perhaps one of the most impressive was the post-pandemic purchase of MGM.
- 1 Key Statistics
- 2 Amazon Publishing
- 3 Top Amazon Book Sales Statistics in 2024
- 3.1 1. Amazon Sells Over 300 Million Print Books Every Year
- 3.2 2. It Dominates The US Print Book Sales Market
- 3.3 3. Amazon Sells Over 487 Million Kindle eBooks Every Year
- 3.4 4. The Company Sells Three Times More Print Books Than eBooks
- 3.5 5. Amazon Owns 91.5% Of The Self-Publishing Market
- 3.6 6. Royalties Cost Amazon Over $520 Million Every Year
- 3.7 7. 31% Of Amazon eBooks Are Self Published
- 3.8 8. The Audible Platform Controls 63.4% Of The Audiobook Market
- 3.9 9. Amazon Has Over 32.8 Million Titles On Its Store
- 3.10 10. 52.44% Of All Published Titles Are English
- 3.11 11. Amazon Book Sales Equal $28 Billion Annually
- 3.12 12. 71% Of Brits Have Bought A Book From Amazon Within The Last Year
- 3.13 13. Adult Non-Fiction Books Are The Most Popular
- 4 FAQS For Budding Authors
- 5 Summing Up
- Amazon sells over 300 million print books every year
- It dominates the US print book sales market
- Amazon sells over 487 million Kindle ebooks every year
- The company sells three times more print books than ebooks
- Amazon owns 91.5% of the self-publishing market
- Royalties cost Amazon over $520 million every year
- 31% of Amazon ebooks are self published
- The Audible platform controls 63.4% of the audiobook market
- Amazon has over 32.8 million titles on its store
- 52.44% of all published titles are English
- Amazon book sales equal $28 billion annually
- 71% of Brits have bought a book from Amazon within the last year
- Adult non-fiction books are the most popular
Amazon has dabbled in a variety of markets but its first foray into publishing didn’t end well.
In 1999 Amazon bought ‘Weathervane’, a publishing company which had just become defunct.
Amazon quickly took over the old presses and produced/published a variety of books.
Unfortunately, they weren’t well-received.
The New Yorker described their first publishing attempt as books “selected with no apparent thought”.
Shortly after the business closed and the name was never heard of again.
Today, even Amazon representatives state they have never heard of the business!
Today, Amazon Publishing is an established subsidiary of Amazon and publishes a wide array of books.
They will publish emerging authors, well-established, and even award-winning authors.
It doesn’t matter if the books are fiction or nonfiction, Amazon Publishing can handle them.
Amazon is the third-largest company in the world by revenue.
It’s therefore not surprising that the company dominates most markets it participates in, including publishing and selling books.
Top Amazon Book Sales Statistics in 2024
1. Amazon Sells Over 300 Million Print Books Every Year
Amazon is currently the biggest seller of printed books in the world.
According to their own figures, they sold more than 300 million books in 2022 and a comparable number in previous years.
What’s most interesting about this figure is that Amazon book sales are increasing every year.
Yet, their competition is struggling.
Major competitors like Barnes & Noble, or Costco, are selling less each year and watching their market share diminish.
Of course, part of Amazon’s secret is that consumers can choose to purchase a book online and then either download an electronic copy or wait for a hard copy to arrive.
This option is more popular than you may think.
It should be noted that any growth in the print book sales industry can be attributed to Amazon.
Other print book suppliers are struggling.
2. It Dominates The US Print Book Sales Market
According to the latest figures, Amazon has a 40% share of the print book market in the US.
That’s a significant portion of the market and a share that is likely to grow as other publishers and booksellers struggle.
It’s estimated that Amazon may increase its share of the print book market to as much as 70% by 2025.
It’s not just in the US.
According to current studies, Amazon controls around 50% of the UK print book market and sells over 100 million print books in the UK every year.
3. Amazon Sells Over 487 Million Kindle eBooks Every Year
It’s not just print books that are selling well on Amazon.
A recent survey highlighted Amazon’s Kindle ebook sales. According to the reports, Amazon sold over 487 million ebooks for Kindles.
Naturally, Amazon also needs to sell the Kindle to go with the ebooks.
It’s estimated that Amazon has 67% of the ebook market and this could increase to 83% if Kindle Unlimited is included.
For those who don’t know, Kindle Unlimited works more like a library.
You can access and read the books but they don’t belong to you.
The books are simply available to read as long as they are in the Kindle library.
It’s an effective way to read as many books as you like without having to worry about the cost, you simply pay a monthly subscription.
4. The Company Sells Three Times More Print Books Than eBooks
When ebooks were launched they were very popular.
It gave people a way to read a new book, wherever they were, without the need to hold the physical book.
Their appeal was instant and in 2011 Amazon sold significantly more ebooks than print books.
However, there are some downsides to ebooks.
For example, the screens are extremely difficult to read in bright sunlight, forgetting or running out of charge can be a real pain, and you may need an internet connection to enjoy the book properly.
The result is ebooks are still popular but many people prefer a physical copy of the book.
According to the latest figures their popularity has continued to increase.
Currently, Amazon is selling three times more print books than ebooks.
5. Amazon Owns 91.5% Of The Self-Publishing Market
There is little doubt that Amazon is responsible for the surge in self-publishing.
Thousands of wannabe authors are able to create their stories and publish them with minimal checks.
It offers people a chance to express themselves, even if the book is never purchased.
This approach is also very profitable for Amazon.
What is amazing is how much Amazon dominates the market.
As of 2018, it was estimated that 91.5% of self-published books originated from Amazon.
That’s a significant difference from 2007 when Amazon had just 5.7% of the market.
The company’s percentage of the industry has grown rapidly.
In 2008 it moved up to 14.9%, and in 2009 the company had over a quarter of the market: 26.1%.
By 2010 this had increased to 31.3% and it topped 50% in 2012.
The climb has continued steadily since.
Amazon enjoyed 61.6% of the market in 2013, rising to 78.8% by 2016, and then climbing to 87.6% in 2017.
One thing is certain, the self-publishing market is growing in popularity and Amazon controls the majority of this market.
6. Royalties Cost Amazon Over $520 Million Every Year
The self-publishing model is simple.
You choose to write a book and, when it’s completed and ready, you upload it to your account on Amazon.
It’s then listed with a description and a selling price.
In general, you’ll need to include a listing price for ebooks and hard copies.
Anyone interested in the book can order a copy and it’s dispatched straight to them, via post or downloaded to their device.
Naturally, you get paid for the book.
However, Amazon keeps part of this as their commission for handling the sale/promoting your book.
In effect, the amount you receive is a royalty on the book.
In the last year, Amazon has paid out over $520 million in royalties to self-publishing authors.
Self-publishers may not know this but all self-publishers have the option to put their writing in foreign languages.
There are 40 different languages to choose from.
It’s also worth noting that your royalty rate varies depending on which type of book you publish.
For example, if you sell a paperback book you’ll get 40% of the selling price as a fixed royalty.
Ebook sellers can fare better with a royalty between 35% and 70%.
Audible books and products come with a 40% royalty if you exclusively publish on Amazon.
However, if you want to publish anywhere then the royalty gets reduced to 25%.
7. 31% Of Amazon eBooks Are Self Published
Self-publishing is often seen as the easiest way to get a book published and can lead to a lot of money if the book is successful.
For many people, specifically those who can’t find someone to publish their book, self-publishing is the only option.
The good news is that anyone can do it and, with the right promotions, it will be purchased by someone.
That’s why 31% of Amazon books are actually self-published.
Of course, getting your book published the traditional way is a little harder, your writing will need to impress the right people.
Self-publishing is also the best way to make unusual topics available.
However, before you rush to join the self-publishing market, you should know it takes time and patience to write an ebook and self-publishing isn’t enough.
To get people to buy it you’ll need to spend time promoting it.
8. The Audible Platform Controls 63.4% Of The Audiobook Market
Audible was founded in 1995 by Donald Katz.
He realized that the internet was the perfect way to distribute voice recordings on demand.
Instead of shipping books and other examples of the printed word, Audible focused on allowing people to hear the story instantly on the internet.
The idea was a hit and the business slowly took off.
It had a few bumps along the way but became known as the leading distributor of audiobooks and other recordings in the US.
It was in 2008 that Amazon realized the potential of Audible and purchased the business for $300 million.
Naturally, Amazon had the resources to expand the business and reach a bigger audience.
As of 2022, Audible has gained 63.4% of the US audiobook publishing market.
In short, it dominates the market and produces 10,000 audio titles every year.
Currently, there are over 200,000 audio products available in Auduble’s library.
It generates an annual revenue of $1.19 billion and looks set to build further on its market dominance.
9. Amazon Has Over 32.8 Million Titles On Its Store
Amazon is the place to go online if you want anything, including books.
The site currently contains over 32.8 million titles, many of which can be downloaded instantly.
The majority of them can be purchased in print version.
A large number of authors publish books through Amazon.
Official figures from Amazon state over 1.42 million titles on their site are self-published.
Alongside this, Amazon publishes at least 1,000 imprint books every year.
This makes them more than one of the largest bookstores in the world, they are also one of the largest book publishers.
In publishing terms, Amazon is on a level with the biggest names in the industry, such as Penguin Random House, Hachette, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, and of course Harper Collins.
10. 52.44% Of All Published Titles Are English
According to the latest stats, in 2014 Amazon published 22.9 million paperback books, 8.10 million hardback, and 1.2 million Kindle books.
Alongside this, they created 0.35 million audio CDs, 0.14 million board books, and 0.04 million audible audiobooks.
Interestingly, despite having a global audience, 52.44% of the published books were created in English.
Just 6.1% were French and the same percentage were German.
That equates to roughly 2 million books in each of these languages, compared to 17.2 million in English
Impressively, 3.05% of Amazon-published books were in Spanish and 2.56% were in Russian.
Italy managed to join the market with 2.3% of the published books and 1.58%, roughly 519,000 books, were written in Chinese.
Of course, Amazon is an American company which dominates the US market.
That may explain why so many of its books are published in English.
11. Amazon Book Sales Equal $28 Billion Annually
Amazon generates a huge amount of revenue each year and generally a healthy profit, although they posted a net loss in 2022.
Part of this revenue comes from book sales.
According to the latest figures from Amazon, they generate over $28 billion from the sale of books.
That’s a huge figure and would be enough to make many businesses happy.
However, it’s small to Amazon as it represents just 10% of their total annual revenue!
Once you start looking at the figures you can see why Amazon controls such a large section of the US book distribution industry.
The book sales figures include all types of books.
Reports show Amazon sells 487 million ebooks annually, that’s approximately a third of the number of print books sold each year.
In short, the world may be increasingly digital but there is still a huge, and growing, market for printed books.
It looks like Amazon can continue to make a profit from these for years to come.
12. 71% Of Brits Have Bought A Book From Amazon Within The Last Year
Amazon dominates the book-selling and publishing industry.
While that’s good for the company it’s not so good for all the independent bookstores and even many of the bigger chains.
The biggest issue is that a physical bookstore needs to invest in each book it offers for sale.
That means a significant amount of funds are tied up in titles and there is a limited number of titles available, both in quantity and the array of titles.
In contrast, Amazon can list every title in the world and doesn’t need to purchase the books beforehand.
In other words, if you’re looking for a specific book, you’re almost certain to find it on Amazon.
If required, it can even be downloaded instantly to a Kindle or similar device.
With that level of convenience and accessibility, it’s not surprising that physical bookstores are struggling and many have closed down.
This is perfectly illustrated in the UK where 71% of respondents confirmed they had purchased a book through Amazon within the last year.
This percentage was slightly lower in the US, with just 67% of people confirming a purchase in the last 12 months.
Interestingly, Italy is in the same league with 66% of book buyers using the service and Germany has a healthy 62%.
13. Adult Non-Fiction Books Are The Most Popular
According to data published by Statista, nearly 300,000 adult nonfiction books were sold during 2022 in the US alone.
Exact figures haven’t been provided by Amazon relating to this topic but surveys confirm that biographies and memoirs are the most popular books sold in print format.
Amazon also confirms that 82.35% of their books are marketed toward adults.
That’s not surprising as adults have more buying power than children.
FAQS For Budding Authors
If you’re thinking of publishing a book and have now realized Amazon can help, you’ll probably have a few questions.
These are the most commonly asked.
Are You Exclusively Tied To Amazon?
You have to make a decision regarding whether to sign exclusively with Amazon or not.
If you choose the exclusive option you can’t publish the book anywhere else, but you will get higher royalty rates.
That can be particularly appealing when you’re just getting started.
Is Publishing Free?
You’ll need to set your account up and upload your book in the right format.
None of this costs you anything except time.
However, once your book is on the market, if someone orders it there will be a cost deducted from the sale.
This covers the printed cost of sending a physical copy to someone.
For ebooks, the cost covers system expenses which support the downloading system.
How Easy Is It To Get Started?
The good news is that it’s very easy to get started with Amazon.
You’ll need to create a publishing account with Amazon.
That means opening a standard account, and then going to the bottom of the page to create a publishing account.
Once you’ve created that you’ll need to write your book and format it to the designated Amazon style.
They will help you with this but normally having a PDF version is enough.
You’ll need to enter some additional information, such as the title, a brief description of the book, whether you intend to be exclusive with Amazon and what formats you want the book to be available in.
Amazon will then list the book in all the relevant places and you can focus on finding customers and building brand awareness.
If you want something and decide to look online for it then you’re almost certainly going to start with Amazon. They have developed a reputation as the everything store.
More importantly, they have a reputation for being reliable.
If you order from them you are highly likely to get a good quality product in a timely manner.
In other words, they have built trust with consumers, have high brand awareness, good customer service, and are seen as dependable.
When you realize that Amazon is the place everyone turns to, the above Amazon book sales statistics become the logical solution.
This is a company which dominates the book publishing and selling market in many countries across the planet.
Whether you’re looking to publish or looking to buy, you’re virtually guaranteed to see what Amazon has to offer.