Waterstones reports massive drop in Amazon Kindle sales

Amazon's Fire Phone might not be the only product suffering from lack of sales. According to a new statement from Waterstones' chief executive James Daunt, Kindle sales have "disappeared to all intents and purposes”.

Waterstones is the leading UK bookseller and has faced a rough few years as more and more people switch over from paper to digital. However, in December this year book sales rose 5 per cent at Waterstones for the first time in years.

A recent store refurbishment programme, set to make every book store different depending on local tastes, appears to have brought book readers back to traditional paper. Another London-based bookstore Foyles has confirmed sales have risen 11 per cent this Christmas.

In response to the sudden growth, Waterstones is adding another 12 stores in 2015, and will continue to localise its selection of books based on local popularity.

The lack of Kindle growth in 2014 is not exclusive to Waterstones stores, who partnered with Amazon in 2012 to sell the e-reader in store. Douglas McCabe of Enders Analysis said: “The rapid growth of ebook sales has quite dramatically slowed and there is some evidence it has gone into reverse".

Amazon does not publish sales for the Kindle products, meaning analysts have to make predictions from inventory and third-party sales. In 2013, Forbes claimed Kindle sales fell flat to 10 million per year, from a peak of 13.4 million in 2011.

E-readers are becoming less valuable as book sellers start to lower prices on paperback and customers move to tablets to read books. Amazon has also not announced a major upgrade on the Kindle line since Paperwhite in 2013.

It is unclear if the drop in e-reader sales has any affect on the amount of digital downloads for books, Amazon does not release this information either.

What is clearly notable is traditional book sales are not completely dead, and might actually make a small comeback in 2015.