Just when you thought pre-selling 1.6 million Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows books was as good as the news gets for online retailer Amazon.com, along comes second quarter earnings figures.
According to MSNBC.com today, “Amazon.com Inc.’s second-quarter profit more than tripled, boosted by strong sales of books, music and electronics worldwide. Earnings for the three months ended June 30 climbed to $78 million, or 19 cents per share, from $22 million, or 5 cents per share during the same period last year, the company said Tuesday.”
The Book Standard today quoted Amazon.com founder and CEO explaining, "Our strong revenue growth this quarter was fueled by low prices and the added convenience of Amazon Prime. More and more customers are taking advantage of Amazon Prime and we're pleased with the acceleration in subscriber growth this quarter." They have more details on the earnings figures, too.
Second quarter earnings don’t take into account the phenomenal sales of the final Harry Potter book, which actually occurred in the third quarter and are expected to bring in approximately $3 billion in sales.
Amazon.com seems to be doing everything right. Although I’ve heard grumblings from some quarters that Amazon’s service isn’t always on par with the local bookstore, I’ve never had anything to complain about. Used properly and intelligently they are like any online retailer that allows you to maximize the searching and shopping power of the Internet and home delivery of products you don’t need immediately. When I know what I want and I don’t need it right at that moment, I order it on Amazon.com. Or if I don’t know what I want but I know what to search for, I find it on Amazon.com. Where I find most value in the local bookstore is browsing or putting my hands on something now. Plus, the valuable assistance of an experienced bookseller helping me find something in his or her section.
Of course, if you’ve had a bad experience with Amazon, you can always order on one of the multiple other online bookstores: Alibris, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Powell Books, etc. They all give you the power to be your own bookseller.