Tag Archives | E-Readers

Once Again, the Kindle is Selling Like an Unspecified Number of Hotcakes

The new Amazon.com Kindles–the Fire and Touch–are out, and Black Friday has come and gone. Amazon is delighted with how well they sold:

“Even before the busy holiday shopping weekend, we’d already sold millions of the new Kindle family and Kindle Fire was the bestselling product across all of Amazon.com. Black Friday was the best ever for the Kindle family – customers purchased 4X as many Kindle devices as they did last Black Friday – and last year was a great year,” said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “In addition, we’re seeing a lot of customers buying multiple Kindles – one for themselves and others as gifts – we expect this trend to continue on Cyber Monday and through the holiday shopping season.”

Four times last year’s sales, eh? Impressive! But we don’t really know how impressive, since Amazon never disclosed how many Kindles it sold last year. The company keeps bragging about its e-reader sales without ever mentioning numbers.

2010 example:

“We’re grateful to the millions of customers who have made the all-new Kindle the bestselling product in the history of Amazon — surpassing Harry Potter 7,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder and CEO. “We’re seeing that many of the people who are buying Kindles also own an LCD tablet. Customers report using their LCD tablets for games, movies, and web browsing and their Kindles for reading sessions. They report preferring Kindle for reading because it weighs less, eliminates battery anxiety with its month-long battery life, and has the advanced paper-like Pearl e-ink display that reduces eye-strain, doesn’t interfere with sleep patterns at bedtime, and works outside in direct sunlight, an important consideration especially for vacation reading. Kindle’s $139 price point is a key factor — it’s low enough that people don’t have to choose.”


Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced that November is already the best sales month ever for Kindle, even before Cyber Monday. Kindle continues to be the most wished for, the most gifted, and the #1 bestselling product across all product categories on Amazon. The latest generation Kindle – just released in October – is $259 and available for immediate shipment today at www.amazon.com/kindle.

Earlier in 2009:

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. The new Kindles started shipping to customers today–two days earlier than previously announced.

…and so on. Always with the triumphant claims about best-sellerhood, but never any specific figures that would allow us to judge for ourselves.

When I wrote about this before, I wondered why Amazon wasn’t forthcoming with hard data. At the time, I thought maybe it was because e-readers were a relatively small product category compared to blockbusters like the iPod. Perhaps Amazon didn’t want to point that out. But with the arrival of the Kindle Fire, I’m dying to know something very specific: How do its sales compare to those of the iPad?

Apple doesn’t always disclose sales figures for its products. As far as I know, though, it doesn’t issue press releases trumpeting their success without large numbers to back up the bragging. For instance, we know that it sold 300,000 units of the original iPad on its first day. But we don’t know whether the Kindle Fire sold in that ballpark, or much less. (I’m assuming we would know if it outsold the iPad. But maybe not.)

I can’t think of anything comparable to Amazon’s ongoing celebration of Kindle sales without any disclosure of what they actually are. It’s clear that Kindles sell well. But until the company fesses up, I’ll always have the sneaking suspicion that they might not be selling quite as well as some people think.

Or as Steve Jobs put it in a 2009 interview with David Pogue, “Usually if you sell a lot of something, you want to tell everybody.”

[Image courtesy of Bigstock.]

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Nook Tablet vs. Kindle Fire: A Guide to Decide

Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire

If it’s a cheap tablet you’re after, Barnes & Noble and Amazon want your business. Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s $249 Nook Tablet both look promising on paper—the former with its suite of Amazon services, and latter with its superior specs and more diverse streaming video offerings—but chances are, you’ve only got room for one tablet on your holiday wish list.

As is often the case with gadgets, finding the best 7-inch tablet is a matter of figuring out your personal needs. Below, I’ll divvy up the strengths of the Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire so you can figure out what’s most important.

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Booksellers Beat the Tech Companies

GigaOm’s Kevin C. Tofel on why Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s rather modest Android tablets have a shot at succeeding when more ambitious ones from other companies have not:

Surprisingly, it took two booksellers / digital content companies to figure out there’s a market for smaller, less expensive tablets that focus on key consumer activities. The Fire and Nook may not be computer replacements, but for most people, neither is the iPad, yet it’s easily outselling comparable Android tablets by a large margin according to the limited data available.

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Amazon Prime Members Now Get Free Kindle E-Book Rentals

Amazing Lending Library

Amazon’s bringing free Kindle e-book rentals to Amazon Prime members, but a bunch of restrictions make the service less attractive than it could be.

The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, as it’s officially called, lets Amazon Prime members check out one book at a time in one-month increments. If the member switches to another book when a month is over, the old book disappears from the device. Amazon Prime costs $79 per year, and also includes free two-day shipping on retail items, $3.99 overnight shipping and, as of last February, free streaming movies and TV shows.

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Here’s Yesterday’s Amazon Kindle Fire Event

I was lucky enough to be at Amazon’s press event yesterday in person. (I enjoyed the company of about 16,500 of you who attended our liveblog, cohosted by Macworld’s Jason Snell.) Amazon has now posted the full video of the event, so you can see what I saw:


In many ways, Amazon’s presentation mirrored Apple’s iconic Steve Jobs keynotes: CEO spouting stats, announcing products, and saving the best for last, interspersed with videos. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is a gifted speaker and did a good job. I was startled by one major difference between an Apple event and this one–Bezos received only sporadic smattering of polite applause. There were no thunderous ovations or wild cheering. I don’t think that was a sign that the audience wasn’t impressed–but the ratio of journalists to employees and VIPs may have been higher at the Amazon event than at typical Apple ones.

(Yes, there are some journalists who clap and hoot at Apple events, but it makes me cringe when they do. Non-journalist types, however, are entitled to get as raucous as they please.)


Amazon Anounces $199 Kindle Fire Tablet, Clutch of New Kindle E-Readers

Amazon Kindle Fire tabletAfter months of hype, Amazon today announced the Kindle Fire, a 7-inch tablet with a $199 price tag. Amazon also refreshed its line of e-readers with a $149 Kindle Touch 3G, a $99 Kindle Touch without 3G, and a non-touch $79 Kindle.

The pricing alone is sure to spook both Apple and Barnes & Noble. Here are the details on the Amazon Kindle Fire and the new Kindle e-readers.

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Wait, Now Amazon is Launching Three Kindle Tablets on Wednesday?

Everyone’s talking Amazon’s nifty new watch-out-Apple tablet, supposedly an Android derivative dubbed the “Kindle Fire,” but have you heard about the other two?

Yes, the other two. As we head into the eleventh hour, we’re hearing Amazon’s planning not one, not two, but three Kindle tablets for its Wednesday (tomorrow) dog and pony show. The so-called Kindle Fire is rumored to be an aggressively priced 7-inch color LCD Android slate, and may (or may not, depending who you read) be designed to go toe-to-toe with Apple’s iPad. That said, it sounds like Amazon wants to support its “but we just want a decent e-reader!” audience as well, and will announce two black and white Kindles at tomorrow’s event, too.

The source: Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says Amazon’s planning two 6-inch grayscale e-ink Kindles, dubbed “Tequila” (low-end) and “Whitney,” (high-end) to complement the color Kindle Fire (dubbed “Hollywood”).

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Report: “Kindle Scribe” Could Be Amazon’s Next E-Reader

Amazon’s next Kindle might not just be for bookworms. The company has registered the “kindlescribe.com” and “kindlescribes.com” domains, leading to speculation that the next Kindle will include a stylus for note taking.

Fusible discovered the domains, which Amazon registered on August 20. As Business Insider notes, the e-reader could use a touch-sensitive E-Ink display, like the kind used in Barnes & Nobles new Nook, but with the added ability to scribble notes.

It would certainly be a logical step for Amazon, which recently started a rental program for college text books. Being able to scratch notes in the margins would come in handy for students, especially because doing so on a printed text book would devalue its resale price.

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Kindle Cloud Reader and Vudu: The Promise and Pitfalls of iPad Web Apps

iPhone to Support Third-Party Web 2.0 Applications
Innovative New Way to Create Applications for iPhone

WWDC 2007, SAN FRANCISCO—June 11, 2007—Apple® today announced that its revolutionary iPhone™ will run applications created with Web 2.0 Internet standards when it begins shipping on June 29. Developers can create Web 2.0 applications which look and behave just like the applications built into iPhone, and which can seamlessly access iPhone’s services, including making a phone call, sending an email and displaying a location in Google Maps. Third-party applications created using Web 2.0 standards can extend iPhone’s capabilities without compromising its reliability or security.

“Developers and users alike are going to be very surprised and pleased at how great these applications look and work on iPhone,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Our innovative approach, using Web 2.0-based standards, lets developers create amazing new applications while keeping the iPhone secure and reliable.”

Doesn’t that feel like a press release from another era? It is.

As everyone who knows anything about the iPhone and iPad knows, developers and users turned out not to be that surprised or pleased by Web apps running in Safari. But when Apple opened up its mobile operating system to true third-party apps in 2008, it set off an explosion of enthusiasm that hasn’t stopped.

There have always been some excellent Web apps for iOS–Google’s ambitious versions of Gmail for the iPhone and iPad spring to mind–but the vast majority of companies that have attempted to build something great for iOS have chosen the flexibility, power, and responsiveness of native apps over the open standards and cloud-based capabilities of Web apps. Which makes this week a notable one for iOS Web apps.

Today, Amazon.com released Kindle Cloud Reader, a browser-based version of its e-reader that works in Safari on the iPad (and Safari and Chrome on Windows PCs and Macs). It give you access to all the Kindle books you’ve bought, has a similar look and feel as the Kindle app, and includes a built-in version of the Kindle bookstore. (Amazon’s iOS Kindle apps deal with Apple’s new rules for in-app purchasing by serving only as readers, not online bookstores.) Cloud Reader’s arrival comes a day after movie-streaming service Vudu launched an entirely browser-based version which can deliver movies to the iPad, no app required.

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