Amazon Runs Out of Kindles

By  |  Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Talk about bad timing. On the same day Amazon boasted the first author to sell one million Kindle books, the stock of Kindle e-readers dried up.

The basic second-generation Kindle is listed as “Temporarily out of stock” at Amazon, with no estimated ship date. If the jumbo Kindle DX’s prominent display on Amazon’s home page is any indication, the retailer is aware that there are no second-generation Kindles left. (If you absolutely must have one, there’s a refurbished model for $170.)

So now it’s time to bring out the theories. As SlashGear notes, there was that rumor from Bloomberg of a third-generation Kindle, supposedly due in August. It will be thinner, with a more responsive screen and sharper display, Bloomberg’s unnamed sources said, but without a touch screen or color.

We’re coming up on August, and the sudden Kindle disappearance fits Amazon’s profile. A few months before Amazon debuted the Kindle 2 in February 2009, first-generation models disappeared. If a new Kindle is coming, I wouldn’t expect such a long delay this time. The market is too competitive for Amazon to miss months of sales, and I’m sure Amazon has a better handle on manufacturing now than it did two years ago.

It’s foolish to rule out some unusual supply glitch, in which case everything should go back to normal soon, but Amazon could use a Kindle refresh either way. The retailer promotes the Kindle as being easy to hold and easy to read outdoors — by comparison, Apple’s iPad is neither — so a thinner, better-looking Kindle would build nicely on that marketing hook. My guess is that Amazon’s early boasts about book sales are building up to a grand announcement of Kindle 3, so maybe the timing’s not so bad after all.

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