New Kindle is Here, Selling Like an Unspecified Number of Hotcakes

By  |  Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 8:17 am

Amazon has announced that it’s started shipping its third-generation Kindle e-reader to customers.The new version is thinner and lighter, with a better screen and longer battery life, and it now starts at $139 (for a Wi-Fi version). Basically, it’s the most Kindle-like Kindle yet, rather than an iPad wannabee. I’m looking forward to seeing one in person.

In Apple-like fashion, Amazon likes to crow about how well the Kindle is selling. But unlike Apple, which frequently quotes sales stats in millions or billions, Amazon has never said how many Kindles it’s sold.

So the company always brags in a vague, self-referential way, which it’s doing today:

Amazon.com today announced that more new generation Kindles were ordered in the first four weeks of availability than in the same timeframe following any other Kindle launch, making the new Kindles the fastest-selling ever.  In addition, in the four weeks since the introduction of the new Kindle and Kindle 3G, customers ordered more Kindles  on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk combined than any other product, continuing Kindle’s over two-year run as the bestselling product across all the products sold on Amazon.com.

Amazon long ago dedicated the best real estate on its site–the top of its homepage–exclusively to Kindle hype. So it would be astonishing if it wasn’t the best settling product on the site. And with the repeated price cuts the e-reader gotten, it’s not surprising that sales continue to increase.

There’s no doubt that the Kindle is an important product and a hit for Amazon, but unless the company discloses actual figures someday, you’ve got to wonder: Does it choose not to get specific because it worries that hard numbers would provoke a spate of “E-readers are still a tiny market compared to the iPod and other landmark gizmos” stories?

 
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14 Comments For This Post

  1. urbansync Says:

    One thing is certain: a *lot* of people I know own Kindles, including several 80 year olds and a large number of folkswho swore they loved the feel of paper and would *never* touch an e-book. One friend bought Kindle 2's for all her grandkids. At least a few of them appear to have become rather passionate readers, which thrills her no end.

    My partner ordered a Kindle 3 the first day available. He asked if I also wanted one and I decided to hold off. Now his will arrive this week and I *really* want one! phooey… :(

  2. pelegri Says:

    my wife is an avid book reader (buyer and from the library). She wanted a Kindle 3 for her b-day and one is on its way and I'm looking forward to try it out. She was not interested at all on an iPad.

  3. Steven Fisher Says:

    I tip my hat to your headline, sir! :)

  4. TG Says:

    @urbansync One thing is certain, there is nothing “certain” about

    ” a *lot* ”

    your anecdote certainly reinforces the author’s point.

  5. Tom Suttles Says:

    The Kindle is a good device to read books. My iPad also has a better program for reading books sine I always know how far I am into the book. I can view lectures from Oxford on iTunes U at no charge. I can surf the net, read and write e-mails, play games and do most anything I can imagine with my iPad. It seems much more cost effective to have a device that does so much more than deliver a book.

  6. lizard Says:

    I don't think even Amazon cares if they sell a lot of Kindles. The margins on hardware are small. They care about selling lots of Kindle *books* (with bigger margins, I expect) and the Kindle hardware is just one (important) platform for doing so.

  7. -SJ Says:

    Tom S. has a good point, but it really depends on what a person is looking for in a device. I have an iPad and I love it. I read books on it, I play games, I browse the web, watch videos, email etc.

    My wife has a Kindle and she loves it. She reads a lot more than I and for the little time she needs to email or spend online she uses a desktop computer.

    It's very much a matter of what each person needs out of a device and not device x is better than device y.

    -sj

  8. James Says:

    I think SJ hit it on the head.

    If you just want to read books and nothing else, then the Kindle is for you. But if you want to do anything else to include reading books then the iPad is for you.

    I also find Urbansyncs comments very telling. Being in my mid-40′s I have no 80 year-old friends. What few 80 year-old people I do know don’t have computers, so I’m not surprised they’d have an appliance like Kindle. Owning a Kindle is like owing a calculator, it does one thing well with none of the hassles of a computer, like the iPad. Of course anyone who grew up with computers don’t see the iPad as a hassle.

    I think a big part of this is generational. I’m willing to bet the vast majority of Kindle owners are 40 or older. Consumer computers emerged in the mid-80′s meaning you’d have to be 40 or older not to have grown up with them. Having a computer at work is not the same, since chances are they are maintained by IT.

  9. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    So true. Nicely done.

  10. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    The irony is it's been a long time since Amazon was just a bookstore, and yet they are pushing a tablet that can only read books. They are anything but a niche retailer, yet they sell a niche tablet.

  11. Clay Says:

    If you want a pure e-Reader, then a kindle is fine, but if you're looking for something that's not only a respectable e-reader, but can perform dozens of other tasks, an iPad is your best bet. An iPad focuses on doing the things that it does well, rather than focusing on being a mediocre, too-small-to-use, glacial laptop.

  12. Clay Says:

    No one finds the iPad a hassle. My great grandmother is 94, and she's never used a computer in her life. When I was over at her house, using my iPad, she asked me what I was doing and I told her, "Reading a book." While the subject matter was woefully uninteresting to her, C# .NET, she was able to use the iPad without a lengthy set of instructions. When she asked me how to turn the page, I said, turn the page like you would a book, and almost hilariously, she licked her index finger before swiping it across the screen. Long story short. . . There's a reason people are copying Apple.

  13. James Says:

    Clay? Glacial? In what way?

    The iPad is instant on and instant in almost everything it does. Netbooks are glacial… and crap.

  14. olin Says:

    well I am buying one and don't care — the technology is totally different and has advantages and disadvantages — I like the battery life and the no glare — text to speech too( I guess you could find away to do this with ipad but it is not built in — Free 3g is nice too; though I am sure the browsing is not as good as the ipad — when it gets color I will like it more for things like field guides will be awesome.

    the ipad however is not as good as tablet pc which is better comparison to the ipad and about the same price differential