Amazon Kindle, E-book, and Kindle Unlimited Statistics

Kindle is the biggest player in the ebook market, even though its share in Amazon book sales has been on the decline over the last few years.

  • Amazon is known to have sold at least 487 million Kindle books.
  • Amazon’s e-book market share is estimated at 67%
  • Including Kindle Unlimited, it is estimated that Amazon’s market share accounts for 83% of US ebook purchases.
  • In 2020, people spent $405 million on ebooks.
  • In 2011, Amazon sold more e-books than print books for the first time
  • However, now e-books make up 19% of total book sales by revenue
  • But the make up 36% of the number of books sold
  • This discrepancy is due to the fact that e-books are often cheaper than print books and there is a huge number of backlist books available for $1 on Kindle
  • Amazon Publishing ebooks often sell for around $5 or $6. Traditional publishers often sell their e-books for $10+
  • Subscriptions like Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited now earn close to $6 billion for Amazon
  • Kindle Unlimited platform has approximately 3 million subscribers
  • 60% of the best-selling titles on Amazon are part of the Kindle Unlimited service
  • 88% of the romance best-sellers are part of Kindle Unlimited 
  • Amazon Kindle holds 72% of the e-reader market
  • It is estimated that Amazon has sold between 20 million and 90 million Kindle devices

How much does Kindle Unlimited cost in different countries?

  • There are more than 2 million titles available on Kindle Unlimited
  • The majority of these titles are: classics, self-published or published by Amazon
  • Kindle Unlimited users can read as many books as they want a month but can only have 10 titles on their device at any one time
  • More than 3/4ths of subscribers read at least 5 books per month
  • 1/4 of subscribers claim to read as much as 20 books per month
Amazon storeCountryMonthly fee
Amazon.comUnited StatesUSD 9.99 KingdomGBP 7.99
Amazon.caCanadaCND 9.99
Amazon.deGermanyEUR 9.99
Amazon.frFranceEUR 9.99
Amazon.itItalyEUR 9.99
Amazon.esSpainEUR 9.99 19.90 129
Amazon.inIndiaINR 99 980 13.99

Amazon UK e-book sales statistics

  • The UK is the second-largest ebook market 
  • It is estimated 15% of all English language ebook sales are made in the UK
  • In the UK book market, e-books make up 34% of all book sales
  • is thought to be responsible for 87.9% of these e-book sales
  • In the UK, there is a 20% VAT (Value Added Tax) applied to ebook sales that is not applied to print book sales
  • In the UK, e-book sales are at their lowest point since 2012
  • 95 million e-books were sold in 2020 – this fell to 80 million in 2021

The rise and fall of e-books

  • In 2011, Amazon sold more e-books than print books for the first time
  • In 2021, it is estimated that Amazon sells 3 print books for every 1 e-book they sell
  • In 2020, e-book sales rose by 11% – many attribute this rise to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • In 2021, these sales decreased again by 3.7%

How are Kindle Unlimited authors paid?

  • In 2021, Kindle Unlimited paid out $450 million to authors of self-published books enrolled in their program
  • This was a 19% increase on 2020
  • Kindle Unlimited are compensated per page read – a % the income from subscribers is split between authors proportionally based upon the number of pages of their books that have been read
  • Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) has enabled over 1 million authors to publish their books globally, including publishing options in 40 languages
  • Self-published books make up around 60% of the ebooks offered on Kindle Unlimited by Amazon

Most popular genres of e-books

The five most popular e-book categories in 2022 are:

1Religion and spirituality
2Memoirs and biographies
3Business and money
5Cookbooks, food, wine and spirits
  • However, Romance is the most popular genre of book in Kindle Unlimited

History of the Kindle device

  • Jeff Bezos instructed the Amazon staff to create the world’s best e-reader in 2004
  • The first Kindle was released on November 19, 2007
  • It retailed at $399
  • It sold out in less than 6 hours, surpassing all expectations and was not back in stock for a further 5 months
  • There are over 30 million people actively using Kindle devices in the USA alone
  • Amazon Kindle holds 72% of the e-reader market