The rich get richer, and fast, following today's announcement of Amazon's third quarter financial results. In our current suck-tastic economy, value retailers like Wal-Mart and Costco are thriving, while high-enders like Nordstrom (see Mark D. Fefer on that subject) are suffering. Amazon is shrewdly hewing to the former model. The company says that for the quarter ending last month, "Net sales increased 28% to $5.45 billion."
That buys a lot of toys for space-curious CEO and founder Jeff Bezos. (Paul Allen likes yachts; Bezos buys spaceships.) Amazon's results immediately goosed today's stock price above $90, double its nadir back in November of 2008. (Graph courtesy of Yahoo! Finance.)
In a press-release blurb attributed to Bezos, he crows, "Kindle has become the #1 bestselling item by both unit sales and dollars-not just in our electronics store but across all product categories on Amazon.com." Okay, so how many Kindles has Amazon sold? The financial statements don't say; nor do they break out book sales from the catch-all category of "media." (See an indie bookseller's complaint about that.) All we know is that, quarter to quarter in the North American market, media is up 13% over 2008, and electronics up a whopping 36%--but in dollars, not units. But, interestingly, in the same market, media is still worth more than electronics ($1.4 versus $1.3 billion), yet that gap is fast narrowing. In 2008, the differential was $1.2 billion versus $950 million. So it would appear that electronics is surging to be the future for the former bookseller, and traditional bound books will contribute less to the company's bottom line.