Ebook downloads overtake print sales after Fifty Shades phenomenon

The paperback may soon be a thing of the past because sales of virtual books on Amazon's UK site have overtaken print sales for the first time.

Kindle downloads overtake print sales
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The online shopping site, which first launched downloadable books in the UK just two years ago, reports that it now sells 114 eBooks for every 100 of the real thing.

It is thought the phenomenal success of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy may have helped to take eBook sales to a new level - the erotic novels sold more than two million digital copies in just four months.

And eReaders like Amazon's own Kindle mean that embarrassed buyers need not advertise the fact that they have succumbed to the 'mummy porn' sensation.

Jorrit Van der Meulen, vice president of Kindle EU, told the Daily Mail: "Customers in the UK are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books, even as our print business continues to grow.

"We hit this milestone in the United States less than four years after introducing Kindle, so to reach this landmark after just two years in the UK is remarkable and shows how quickly UK readers are embracing Kindle."

But what's good news for Kindle, and for publishers wishing to keep costs down, is bad news for book shops.

According to the Mail, smaller, independent book stores are now closing at the rate of two a week in the UK.

What do you think? Are you a Kindle convert or sad to see the decline of the paperback? Leave your comments below...