Today Amazon released its first quarter earnings, reporting some $13.18 billion and earnings per share of $0.28. Analysts had expected earnings per share of $0.07 and revenues of $12.90 billion.

In its own headline, Amazon touted that some 16 of the top 100 bestselling book titles were Kindle exclusives. Let that underscore how important the Kindle business has become for Amazon. The North Americas were particularly strong in the quarter for the company: “North America segment sales, representing the Company’s U.S. and Canadian sites, were $7.43 billion, up 36% from first quarter 2011.

However not all was rosey: “Operating cash flow increased 1% to $3.05 billion for the trailing twelve months,” the company noted, and “Operating income was $192 million in the first quarter, compared with $322 million in first quarter 2011.”

Still, the market reaction has been fast, and big, with the stock soaring over $18 per share in after hours trading. Those big revenue numbers seem to have hit the spot for many in the market.

In the quarter prior, Amazon fell short of what analysts had expected:

According toMarketWatch, Q4 revenue was $17.43B vs $18.25B estimate. Earnings per share were up sharply, however, at $0.38 versus an expected $0.17. Income was disappointing, as well, falling 58% to $177 million versus $416 million in the previous year’s quarter. Sales, however, were up 35% to $17.43 billion.

That Amazon was able to mount such a quick turnaround, and beat analysts, is perhaps a tribute to how uncertain the markets currently are. Some analysts, as it turns out, had a predicted a loss for the quarter.

Amazon’s full release is below:

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2012.

“I’m excited to announce that we now have more than 130,000 new, in-copyright books that are exclusive to the Kindle Store – you won’t find them anywhere else. They include many of our top bestsellers – in fact, 16 of our top 100 bestselling titles are exclusive to our store”

Operating cash flow increased 1% to $3.05 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $3.03 billion for the trailing twelve months ended March 31, 2011. Free cash flow decreased 39% to $1.15 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $1.90 billion for the trailing twelve months ended March 31, 2011.

Common shares outstanding plus shares underlying stock-based awards totaled 464 million on March 31, 2012, compared with 466 million a year ago. During the quarter, the Company repurchased 5.3 million shares, or $960 million, under its previously announced authorization to repurchase up to $2 billion of the Company’s common stock.

Net sales increased 34% to $13.18 billion in the first quarter, compared with $9.86 billion in first quarter 2011. Excluding the $56 million unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales would have grown 34% compared with first quarter 2011.

Operating income was $192 million in the first quarter, compared with $322 million in first quarter 2011. The unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter on operating income was $4 million.

Net income decreased 35% to $130 million in the first quarter, or $0.28 per diluted share, compared with net income of $201 million, or $0.44 per diluted share, in first quarter 2011.

“I’m excited to announce that we now have more than 130,000 new, in-copyright books that are exclusive to the Kindle Store – you won’t find them anywhere else. They include many of our top bestsellers – in fact, 16 of our top 100 bestselling titles are exclusive to our store,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. “If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you don’t even need to buy these titles – you can borrow them for free – with no due dates – from our revolutionary Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is heavily used by Kindle owners, and it has extremely unusual features that both authors and customers love. Every time you borrow a book, the author gets paid – and we have an inexhaustible supply of each title so you never have to wait in a queue for the book you want. Kindle is the bestselling e-reader in the world by far, and I assure you we’ll keep working hard so that the Kindle Store remains yet another reason to buy a Kindle!”

Highlights

  • Kindle Fire remains the #1 bestselling, most gifted, and most wished for product across the millions of items available on Amazon.com since launch. In the first quarter, 9 out of 10 of the top sellers on Amazon.com were digital products – Kindle, Kindle books, movies, music and apps.
  • Amazon launched Kindle Touch Wi-Fi and Kindle Touch 3G on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, and Amazon.es. The full line of Kindle e-ink readers is now available in over 175 countries around the world. Kindle Touch 3G is the most full-featured e-reader with an easy to use touchscreen and the unparalleled convenience of free 3G – no hunting for Wi-Fi spots, simply think of a book and download it. Kindle remains the bestseller on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it and Amazon.es since their launches.
  • Amazon introduced a new version of its popular Kindle for iPad app, which is the #5 free iPad app of all time and the #1 free books app on iPad. Millions of customers are using the new Kindle for iPad app, which is optimized for the high resolution display of the newest iPad.
  • Amazon announced an In-App Purchasing service, making it easy for Amazon Appstore developers to offer digital content and subscriptions for purchase within apps and games that are available on millions of Kindle Fires and other Android devices. Amazon Appstore’s In-App Purchasing service is simple for developers to integrate and helps monetize their apps and games, while offering customers a seamless and secure 1-Click purchasing experience.
  • Amazon.com announced the launch of the Amazon Instant Video app for PlayStation 3 (PS3), making the PS3 system the first video game console system to offer Amazon Instant Video, and allowing PS3 users to stream Prime Instant Videos and rent or buy the latest movies and TV episodes directly from their PS3. Customers can also access Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video from Kindle Fire, Mac or PC, or on a TV using either a compatible connected device such as a Blu-ray player or a Roku or directly on compatible Smart TVs.
  • Amazon continued to expand its catalog of title offerings for Prime Instant Video, announcing licensing agreements with Discovery Communications and Viacom. Among the programs added are Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs, TLC’s Say Yes To The Dress and Animal Planet’s Whale Wars, as well as thousands of TV episodes from MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, TV Land, Spike, VH1, BET, CMT and Logo. These deals bring the total number of Prime Instant Videos to more than 17,000 movies and TV episodes from partners such as CBS, Fox, NBCUniversal, Sony, Warner Bros., PBS, Disney-ABC and many more.
  • North America segment sales, representing the Company’s U.S. and Canadian sites, were $7.43 billion, up 36% from first quarter 2011.
  • International segment sales, representing the Company’s U.K., German, Japanese, French, Chinese, Italian and Spanish sites, were $5.76 billion, up 31% from first quarter 2011. Excluding the unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, sales grew 32%.
  • Worldwide Media sales grew 19% to $4.71 billion. Excluding the unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, sales grew 19%.
  • Worldwide Electronics and Other General Merchandise sales grew 43% to $7.97 billion. Excluding the unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, sales grew 43%.
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that Amazon DynamoDB – the fastest growing AWS service ever – is now available in both the EU (Ireland) and Asia Pacific (Tokyo) Regions. Amazon DynamoDB is a fully managed NoSQL database service that provides extremely fast and predictable performance with seamless scalability.
  • AWS lowered prices for the 19th time in five years by reducing reserved instance prices for Amazon EC2 and Amazon RDS, as well as reducing on-demand pricing for Amazon EC2, Amazon RDS, and Amazon ElastiCache.
  • AWS launched AWS Marketplace, an online store that makes it easy for customers to find, compare, and immediately start using the software and services they need to build software systems and products, and run their businesses. With AWS Marketplace, software and SaaS providers with offerings that run in the AWS Cloud can benefit from increased awareness, simplified deployment, and automated billing. AWS Marketplace brings the same simple, trusted, and secure online shopping experience that customers enjoy on Amazon.com to software built for the AWS platform, streamlining the process of doing research and purchasing software.