Amazon still won't disclose the exact number of Kindle sales, but it is saying today that the third generation of its Kindle e-Book reader is now the Internet retailer's best-selling product of all time, even selling more than the last Harry Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."
So how many is that? "Millions," says Amazon. More than the reported 7.5 million iPads reported back in October? More than the estimated 13.8 million iPads forecasted to ship by year-end?
Amazon Won't Give Numbers...
According to Amazon (well, the details it would release, that is), more people activated Kindles and downloaded Kindle books and apps on Christmas Day than on any other day in history. The Kindle Wi-Fi and Kindle 3G were Amazon's best-selling products this holiday season ?(Nov. 14 though Dec. 19, based on units ordered) in its Electronics category, followed by the iPod Touch 8 GB.
Says Amazon, the Kindle is popular because of its low $139 price point, its e-ink technology for reading e-books outside in direct sunlight, its lighter weight and long-lasting battery life, among other things.
But these "figures" from Amazon aren't saying much - they're just getting it press (guilty). So it sold more than a hugely popular book released nearly three years ago? So a product made by Amazon and heavily promoted on its website is a top-seller?
But Analysts Will...
Without hard numbers, it's hard to know where the Kindle stands now in terms of its competition.
Analysts have a few guesses, though. According to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg this month, Amazon is likely to sell more than 8 million Kindles this year, which is at least 60% more than previously predicted. (Citigroup, Barclays Capital, BGC Partners LP and ThinkEquity LLC had previously estimated Amazon would sell about 5 million Kindles this year. Caris & Co. predicted 4.8 million, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. projected 4 million to 5 million.)
We do know that Amazon likes to take every opportunity to tout the Kindle's success. For example, in October, a day prior to the reveal of the Barnes & Noble Nook, Amazon released a statement saying how its Kindle sales were already topping 2009 holiday sales. "It's still October and we've already sold more Kindle devices since launch than we did during the entire fourth quarter of last year--astonishing because the fourth quarter is the busiest time of year on Amazon," Steve Kessel, senior VP, Amazon Kindle said at the time.
Considering E-book Marketshare
in some people's opinion, isn't a direct iPad competitor, which is true. It does, however, compete for e-book marketshare with its Kindle e-bookstore. And there, analysts have projected falling numbers for Amazon over the next five years. For example, in February, Credit Suisse analyst Spencer Wang told The Wall St. Journal that it expects Amazon's share of e-book business to fall from 90% to around 30% by 2015.The Kindle,
"Near term, we suspect that the iPad and the new eBook agency pricing model, which requires that Amazon increase retail prices to be more consistent with Apple's pricing, will provide Kindle with the most market share headwind," said Wang. "Going forward, we can envision a scenario where Apple, Amazon, and Google eventually split the market."