By Max Clarke
After yesterday's announcement that profits at Amazon.com had soared by some 36%, following is a selection of facts and company developments that have contributed to the company's sucesses.
* Amazon.com is now selling more Kindle books than paperback books. Since the beginning of the year, for every 100 paperback books Amazon has sold, the Company has sold 115 Kindle books. Additionally, during this same time period the Company has sold three times as many Kindle books as hardcover books. This is across Amazon.com's entire U.S. book business and includes sales of books where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the numbers even higher.
* The Company sold millions of third-generation Kindle devices with the new advanced paper-like Pearl e-ink display in the fourth quarter and the third-generation Kindle eclipsed "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" as the bestselling product in Amazon's history.
* The U.S. Kindle Store now has more than 810,000 books including New Releases and 107 of 112 New York Times Bestsellers. Over 670,000 of these books are $9.99 or less, including 74 New York Times Bestsellers. Millions of free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books are also available to read on Kindle.
* Amazon added to its growing list of "Buy Once, Read Everywhere" Kindle apps, launching a Kindle app for Windows Phone 7. In addition, the Kindle for Android app was updated to enable users to buy, read and sync over 100 Kindle newspapers and magazines. All Kindle apps let customers "Buy Once, Read Everywhere"--on Kindle, Kindle 3G, Kindle DX, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Mac, PC, BlackBerry and Android-based devices. All Kindle apps are free and incorporate Amazon's Whispersync technology, which allows readers to seamlessly switch between devices. With Kindle Worry-Free Archive, books purchased from the Kindle Store are automatically backed up online in the Kindle library on Amazon where they can be re-downloaded wirelessly for free, anytime.
* The Company announced Price Check for iPhone, a new price comparison app that provides shoppers an easy way to compare in-store prices with the low prices from Amazon.com and other online merchants. Shoppers can use the app to scan a barcode, snap a picture, or say or type a product name to instantly see online prices for that item. Over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend, mobile shoppers used Price Check to look up prices over a million times. In December, shoppers used the app more than two million times to check prices.
* North America segment sales, representing the Company's U.S. and Canadian sites, were $7.21 billion, up 45% from fourth quarter 2009.
* International segment sales, representing the Company's U.K., German, Japanese, French, Chinese and Italian sites, were $5.74 billion, up 26% from fourth quarter 2009. Excluding the unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, sales grew 29%.
* Worldwide Media sales grew 12% to $5.23 billion. Excluding the unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, sales grew 13%.
* Worldwide Electronics & Other General Merchandise sales grew 60% to $7.39 billion. Excluding the unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, sales grew 62%.
* The Company launched Amazon.it, an Italian-language website offering customers a vast selection of books, DVDs, video games, music and consumer electronics at everyday low prices. Amazon.it's convenient services include Amazon Prime, the membership program with unlimited free guaranteed 2-3 day delivery at an annual fee of 9.99 Euros. The first product sold on Amazon.it was a Canon Pixma printer to a new Prime customer in Turino, Italy.
* Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced lowered usage pricing on existing Premium Support offerings by 50% and added two new support plans to meet the needs of developers and enterprises of all sizes and technical ability. In addition to the existing Silver and Gold support plans, AWS now offers a Bronze support plan for $49 per month and a Platinum support plan that provides 15 minute response times and dedicated Technical Account Managers.
* AWS achieved Level 1 Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance, continuing its commitment to providing the security certifications developers and enterprises care about. Merchants and other service providers can now run their applications on AWS PCI-compliant technology infrastructure to store, process and transmit credit card information in the cloud.
* AWS launched Elastic Beanstalk, an easy way for developers to quickly deploy applications to AWS and manage applications in the AWS cloud. Elastic Beanstalk automatically scales up and down as needed so developers don't need to worry about configuring their infrastructure requirements in AWS. Unlike existing application containers or "platform as a service" offerings that force developers to accept infrastructure decisions pre-determined by the vendor, Elastic Beanstalk allows developers to "open the hood" to tinker with the AWS resources powering their applications. AWS customers can now choose to have as much automation or as much control as they wish.