February 1, 2010

Jeff Bezos truthin’ it on — well, who knows?


One of these guys taught the other one everything he knows ...

One of these guys taught the other one everything he knows ...

In an amazing coincidence, the day after the launch of Apple‘s “Kindle Killer,” the iPad, Amazon head cahuna Jeff Bezos has “finally mentioned something involving numbers with respect to Kindles, which are now owned by ‘millions of people,'” reports Michael Cader in a story for Publishers Lunch. “And ratio of Kindle sales to print sales continues to grow: ‘when we have both editions, we sell 6 Kindle books for every 10 physical books,'” according to Bezos. (And yes, at least Bezos that he was talking about only paid-for books, not those freebie “bestsellers” you’ve been hearing about lately.)

The occasion of this revelation? Amazon’s fourth quarter filings, but it’s not as if the company broke out any actual numbers — even the official release only includes Bezos’ claim, that is, the quote quoted above.

Meanwhile, the company’s filings indicate that nobody generates cash flow like Amazon, as those filings indicate an absolutely astounding quarter with “sales of $9.52 billion, 42 percent higher than a year ago. Net income rose even more, up 71 percent at $384 million. North American media sales rose 20 percent, to $2.099 billion for the quarter, now far outpaced by international media sales, which jumped 37 percent to $2.58 billion. For the full year, North American media sales were $5.964 billion, while international media sales hit $5.734 billion.” One thing they still don’t report: a profit.

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives