Home What Amazon’s Merry Christmas Means for Tablets and the Future of Publishing

What Amazon’s Merry Christmas Means for Tablets and the Future of Publishing

Not unsurprisingly, this holiday season was a big one for the world’s biggest e-commerce retailer. But it wasn’t just all those remote-controlled, inflatable flying sharks and Forever Lazy pajamas people ordered. Among the biggest winners this year was Amazon’s line of Kindle e-readers and, naturally, the e-books that go on them.

Kindles flew off Amazon’s digital shelves at a rate of over 1 million per week during the month of December and occupied the top three slots on the company’s site-wide bestseller list. The #1 position was held by the Kindle Fire, which was also the most gifted and wished-for item on the entire site, according to data released today by Amazon.

What good would all those new e-reader devices be without books to go with them? Sure enough, after unwrapping their new gadgets on Christmas Day, people took to the Kindle Store to download books, making it the single best day for ebook downloads since Amazon starting offering them. Between Black Friday and Christmas, Kindle books sold 175% more than they did during that same time period last year.

Indie Authors on the Rise

Found amidst the company’s holiday sales stats are a few clues about what the future of publishing might entail. In addition to obvious choices like Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography, readers have been downloading books by independent authors at a growing pace.

In 2011, the first and fourth best-selling ebooks were by indie authors who published their work via Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service. No longer are readers limited to offerings from big publishing houses. Thanks to the explosion in e-books and the devices they’re best read on, unknown authors can become best-sellers like never before.

2012: Another Huge Year For Tablets

It was no mistake that Amazon released its media tablet just in time for the holiday season, and at less than half the cost of the iPad. The device is the fastest-growing tablet since the first generation iPad, and that growth shows no signs of stopping.

The early success of the Kindle Fire closes out another big year for tablets and precedes what is sure to be yet another one. Apple is expected to unveil the next generation of the iPad at some point in 2012, possibly in multiple sizes and almost certainly with a smaller price tag. Android is pushing its own platform forward with Ice Cream Sandwich and we’ll undoubtedly see a host of new ICS-friendly devices next year.

We’ll also see the launch of Windows 8 next year, a new generation of Microsoft’s operating system that will offer a seamless experience across dekstops, tablets and smartphones. How well it will catch on remains to be seen, but for Windows users, an affordable Windows 8-based tablet could be hard to resist.

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