Amazon profits soar thanks to book reader

AMAZON profits surged by 71 per cent in the final three months of 2009.

The online bookseller said its Kindle electronic book reader had driven the sales boom.

The device – Amazon's bestselling product – will face competition from Apple’s new iPad, which was unveiled this week.

Overall sales at Amazon – which now offers thousands of other products online – rose 42 per cent to £5.89bn.

Its pre-tax profit was £237m over the period.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said: "Millions of people now own Kindles, and Kindle owners read, a lot.

"When we have both editions, we sell six Kindle books for every 10 physical books.

"This is year-to-date and includes only paid books – free Kindle books would make the number even higher.

"It's been an exciting 27 months."

The Seattle-based firm said revenue from books, CDs, DVDs and other media generated £2.89bn while sales of electronics and other "general merchandise" brought in £2.85bn.

Amazon cut the price of the Kindle to £160 in an effort to fuel Christmas sales.