Nine Gazillion Pound Gorilla – 2008 Holiday Sales Best Ever

Amazon reports that the 2008 holiday season was the online retailer’s historic best. On its peak day (December 15th), the retailer shipped 5.6 million items.

Amazon did not break out book sales, so we don’t yet have a clear idea of how they compare to those of traditional bookstores and store chains like Barnes & Noble, Borders and Books-A-Million. Amazon retails a wide variety of nonbook products, and we know from other sources that among the items moving briskly out of their warehouses were Nintendo Wii, Samsung’s 52-inch LCD HDTV, the Apple iPod touch and the Blokus board game.

Amazon is a key bellweather for the emerging digital retail business model, and the weathervane this year has pointed to fair weather for etailers. Worries arising from the economic crisis have had traditional retailers on edge, and a great many brick and mortar stores slashed prices to the bone, causing a drop in overall holiday spending, according to a credit card transaction tracking outfit. If some of those stores were booksellers, it will tell us a lot about book-buying patterns.

In the absence of hard trends, I’m putting my money on the Nine Gazillion Pound Gorilla.



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