Amazon sells more ebooks than hardcoversIn another sign that dead tree media is, well, dying, Amazon.com, the largest book retailer, announced that for the first time, sales of ebooks exceeded the number of hardcovers sold.

Amazon sold 143 ebooks for every 100 hardcovers sold during the second quarter of this year. The Kindle Store features more than 630,000 books for sale. Amazon has sold more ebooks in the first six months of this year than it did in the first half of 2009, further proof of the expanding market for ebooks.

However compared to the more than $4 billion in hardcover sales, ebooks is still a small and growing market. with only $81 million in sales, less than 1% of the total market.

But the writing is on the wall, so to speak. Kindle sales have tripled since Amazon cut its price to $190 from $260. Readers can purchase books from the Kindle Store, and synch them to several devices including their computer, Blackberry, iPhone, iPad, and Android phones.

Even so, there are still plenty of print hold-outs out there. Textbooks, Bibles, and professional books still account for $35 billion in sales.

Mashable has a face-off poll that asks readers if they preferred ebooks to printed books. Most voted for print, and one commentator wrote that he dropped a hardcover down a flight of stairs and continued reading. You can't say that about an ebook device. But you can be sure; somebody's working on an app for that.

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