Books, United States (Public)
Last year’s rank: N/A
Digital Content Revenue
$1,850,000,000 (3% of total)
Amazon’s global physical and digital “media” (i.e., content) sales in 2011 were $17.78 billion, according to Amazon. The company doesn’t break out digital content sales, and analyst Ben Schacter at Macquarie calls this kind of estimate “impossible.” Nevertheless, Barclays took a stab, estimating that Amazon’s 2011 digital content revenue (defined as content sold on Kindle e-readers, Kindle Fire and non-Amazon devices, not including apps, video, etc) was between 7.5% and 11% of total global media sales. Using 10%, that would be $1.78 billion.
Here’s another way to look at it: We know that Barnes & Noble, which has roughly a 25% share of the U.S. e-book market, sold $463 million worth of digital content (apps, e-books, digital newsstand) for the year ending April 28, 2012. Amazon has roughly 60 percent of the U.S. e-book market and, unlike Barnes & Noble, also sells videos and music and operates internationally. S,o using B&N’s figure as a gauge, we could estimate that Amazon’s digital content was between three and five times higher than Barnes & Noble’s. Three times higher is $1.39 billion; four times higher is $1.85 billion; five times higher is $2.3 billion. We used the middle estimate ($1.85 billion.)
This estimate doesn’t include any revenue from Amazon Prime, which includes some free content for members who pay $79 a year for expedited shipping.
Source: Our estimate, Barclays estimate.
– Laura Owen