Kindle Fire HDAmazon’s sales were up but its profits are down, as the company’s physical book sales growth slows and it continues to invest in new, digital products.

  • Sales: up 22 percent to $21.27 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, the company reported, or 23 percent higher if difference in foreign exchange rates are excluded.
  • Net income: down 45% to only $97 million, or $0.21 per share, compared with $177 million in 2011.
  • Versus the predictions: Wall Street predicted earnings of 27 cents a share, down from 38 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2011, and total revenue of $22 to $23 billion. Sales were expected to jump up from the third quarter, of course, due to the holiday shopping season.

“We’re now seeing the transition we’ve been expecting,” Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of, said in a statement. “After 5 years, eBooks is a multi-billion dollar category for us and growing fast – up approximately 70% last year. In contrast, our physical book sales experienced the lowest December growth rate in our 17 years as a book seller, up just 5%. We’re excited and very grateful to our customers for their response to Kindle and our ever expanding ecosystem and selection.”

  • Kindle Fire HD: It was the most popular item: top selling, most wished-for, and most-gifted. “At year-end, Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire, Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle held the top four spots on the Amazon worldwide best seller charts since launch,” Amazon said in a statement.
  • Kindle authors: 23 Kindle Direct Publishing authors have sold at least 250,000 digital copies copies sold mark in 2012.
  • Kindle books: More than 500 KDP Select books have reached the top 100 Kindle best seller lists globally.
  • Amazon’s digital library: Now includes 23 million movies, TV shows, songs, books, games, and apps — up four million items from 2011.
  • Amazon Prime Instant Video: licensing agreements with movie studios now give Amazon 36,000 movies and TV show episodes to show.

The past few quarters have not been stellar for Amazon (Q3 2012: $274 million net loss;  Q2 2012: $7 million income) but investors seem to like these results, as the company’s stock is up 6 percent in after-hours trading.

Amazon net sales, Q4 2011 to Q4 2012

Above: Amazon net sales, Q4 2011 to Q4 2012

Image Credit: Amazon

photo credit: brianjmatis via photopin cc

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