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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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July 2014
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Kindle Fire Sales May Suffer Thanks to Nexus 7

We don’t have any real way of obtaining solid sales numbers from Amazon with regard to the Kindle line.  They simply don’t choose to make that information public.  Still, analysts are generally able to make decent guesses on how the devices are doing and where they stand with regard to the competition.  According to Cowen analyst Kevin Kopelman, things are not looking up.

Kopelman, who had previously estimated that sales of the Kindle Fire tablet in 2012 would hit approximately 14 million units, has lowered his estimates to 12 million.  He calls his previous numbers “unrealistic” in the wake of Google’s strong competition.  Along with this revision, the Cowen analyst has revised his expected growth of the eReader side of the Kindle line from 30% to 3%.  Factors such as Amazon’s focus on pushing the Kindle Fire to the exclusion of everything else and the long wait in getting a front-lit eReader to customers are cited as important considerations.

This may change depending on consumer reactions to the anticipated Kindle Fire update, of course.  We don’t have any real information yet and it has to be assumed that Kopelman is similarly in the dark regarding the specifics of the new design.  This didn’t stop him from mentioning the rumored iPad Mini in his analysis as a source of competition, but even imaginary Apple products often require special treatment at the moment.

The idea that the Kindle Fire will be completely wiped out by its Nexus 7 competition is far fetched at best.  If Amazon never released a hardware update to the current model, that might be possible.  As it stands, however, there is every reason to believe that significantly more is being done to make owning the next generation of Kindle Fire even better than owning the current one.

Add into that the benefits of the tablet’s integration with Amazon services and you have a recipe for ongoing success.  To be fair, Kopelman’s report doesn’t disagree with this.  He simply indicates that another 7” Android tablet is taking up consumer attention.  That is going to happen.  Will Amazon always be the best selling brand in small tablet design?  Probably not, given their interest in creating devices for fairly narrow use cases.

Take this for what it is.  Amazon will still be doing just fine with their tablet sales, they just finally have some impressive competition at the same price point.  The Nexus 7 could be the Kindle Fire’s Nook.  Competition always brings out the best in situations like this.  Short of somebody else coming in and completely destroying the budget tablet market, which is unlikely in the case of either Apple or Microsoft despite the impending release of Windows 8, Amazon is going to be invested in things here for the indefinite future.

That means more Kindle Fire sales, more features, and more reasons for customers to be interested.  This is a company known for its customer satisfaction, which makes it especially unlikely that they’ll drop the ball on a major product push like this.

Will Amazon Unwittingly Destroy the Kindle?

Kindle Touch

Kindle Touch

It’s been clear since early this year that as the Kindle Fire was taking off so impressively, Amazon was experiencing some amount of decreased Kindle eReader interest among its customers.   It is probably fair to say that most people expected this.  The Kindle accomplishes its narrow purpose well, but many people will always prefer a device that does many things adequately over one that does one thing extremely well.  As the trend continues, and as the Kindle Fire becomes the first in its own line of tablet products, do we have to worry about this being a popular enough substitution to lead to the end of the Kindle eReader?

A year or two ago I would have, and am known to have, argued against the idea.  The strengths of the Kindle are things that you just can’t match in a tablet.  The Kindle Fire’s inferior screen, shorter battery life, and greater weight all make it a distant second-best for reading activities by comparison.  Clearly not everybody is agreeing with those points, as sales estimates for the popular eReader have been declining coming into this year.

I believe it is possible to argue against this being just a matter of one device being somehow better than the other, though.  The real problem is the way that Amazon has segmented their customer base.

If we assume that the Kindle Fire is more appealing to people who only read occasionally, and who would like to get more regular use out of their purchase, that leaves E Ink Kindle buyers as the more dedicated reader base.  Let’s face it, Amazon’s actions lately have not been entirely pleasant for many fans of literature despite bringing prices down.

People get very attached to their favorite authors, and to the idea of authorship in general.  For many, the “One of these days I’m going to sit down and write a book” mantra is less a matter of actual intent and more a sign of respect for the craft.  The cult popularity springing up around any number of self-published Kindle authors is just another sign of this.  By pitting themselves against groups like the IPG, and thereby inspiring even more public condemnation from big name author and those speaking more or less officially on their behalf, Amazon is damaging their pro-reader stance.

I don’t believe that the eReader as we know it is on the way out.  The E Ink Kindle remains one of the best options for reading that money can buy and the combination of great selection with commitment to customer satisfaction works heavily in Amazon’s favor.  This sort of questionable behavior does much to dampen enthusiasm for the product among potential buyers, though.

So is Amazon biting into Kindle sales?  Definitely.  There’s at least as much interference coming from their heavy-handed negotiation tactics as their tablet alternative, though.  The Kindle Fire is an amazing little device and most people seem glad to have it once they take it home, but for reading nothing can beat E Ink so far.  Sadly, Amazon has been doing some work making sure people have doubts about tying themselves to the otherwise amazing Kindle ecosystem in the long term, and so there are issues.

Kindle Fire Games Publisher Sells 1 Million Downloads In 3 Months

While it may not precisely stack up against Apple’s recent announcement of their 25 Billionth App download, Amazon’s App Store has a new success story in the form of Kindle Fire game publisher G5 Entertainment.  They have recently announced their millionth download for Amazon’s new table in a report that also listed the company’s total downloads over the length of their business at over 40 million.  G5 develops and publishes a fairly large selection of casual game selections for mobile platforms and PCs including both Android and iOS, and since the holiday season of 2011 has seen notable success in their releases specifically for the Kindle Fire.  The same release from the company notes that six to eight of their first twelve releases are constantly present in the Amazon Appstore’s Top 100 Paid Games.

We have had indications from some analysts for a while now that despite the added complications for app developers when dealing with Amazon’s guidelines and review process, apps sold through the company’s store are likely to make significantly more money than even in the general Android Marketplace.  Considering other analyses regarding the Kindle Fire user’s likely spending habits across the life of their device, it makes sense to specifically target this portion of Amazon’s user base in an effort to efficiently appeal to the most profitable audience.  If nothing else, the evidence of success in this case would seem to justify the approach.

While the Kindle Fire is not primarily a gaming console in the way Nintendo and Sony’s portable video game systems are, there are a number of popular casual game genres that are easily adapted to the low power touchscreen device.  In the case of G5, many will likely be familiar with their Hidden Object, Puzzle, or Time Management game.  Their titles tend to favor an addictive but quick format that allows the user to step away as needed with no trouble and pick up again in a free moment without confusion.  Perfect for the casual time waster, which fits the Kindle Fire’s status as a media consumption catch-all.

It should be noted that at least one of G5′s games was released as an Amazon Free App of The Day.  While companies do not get reimbursed for these offerings, they often make an appealing option for publicity when properly exploited by the developer.  This was an especially good move for once, since it allowed for the inclusion of the G5 Games Navigator as a portal for every customer to download the game.  While it clearly opened the door to tens of thousands of downloads that did not directly earn the company any money, many of these were also from users that may not have taken an interest otherwise and who are now presented with suggested purchases in a move reminiscent of Amazon’s own sales methods.

The Kindle Fire is going to be a big deal for some time to come, despite any potential competition arising in the near future.  It is a big market for Amazon to tap and they are unlikely to let it slide away.  News like this just helps to confirm for developers that there might be something to their product specifically besides as just another budget Android tablet.  As we learn more about the next generation of Kindle Fire, chances are good that it will only get more distinct from the competition and hopefully this is a sign that it can be even more profitable in some cases.

Amazon, Kindle, and Black Friday Deals: Looking Ahead

It’s that time again and Black Friday Deals are just around the corner.  As always we can expect a slew of promos, door buster deals, extremely long lines, amazing if short lived price cuts, and loads of fun for all ages.  Well, maybe not that last part entirely, but you get the picture.  Fortunately, Amazon provides a good way to get some of these great details without lining up outside a store hours before the sun comes up.

I’m even fairly certain that there will be some great deals available for the Kindle lovers among us.  “But how?!” one might ask, given that the new line of Kindles will just finish being released on the 15th and the associated price drops will still be settling in.  The answer is clear.

Expect, for one, at least one great offer on the Kindle Keyboard.  Amazon, prior to the release of the Kindle 4 and announcement of the new Kindle Touch and Fire, had been selling the refurbished Keyboard model at a fairly large discount.  This is a move we’d seen before during the transition from the second to third generation of eReader.  We still have them up for sale though, so why bother?  Personally I have a feeling that they just didn’t sell as well as was hoped now that customers knew what to expect.  Look for some great deals on this product with the Black Friday promotions, as this should be a wonderful time for Amazon to sell off large quantities of a product that many believe is being phased out.

Also, watch for accessories!  The Kindle Fire will still be fresh in peoples’ hands after pre-orders ship, as will the Kindle Touch.  As with any piece of portable electronics, there are going to be things needed both for personalization and proper utilization.  Not much fits the bill better than Kindle cases, styluses (you never know what it might be handy), skins, etc.  Given how hard Amazon has been pushing their new hardware, even taking a loss on much of it if external analysis is to be believed, it’s unlikely that a chance to further promote the line will be passed by.

The other thing that Amazon has been pushing, though, is their digital media distribution.  Given that potentially millions of customers will be pulling out their new media tablets in the same week as Black Friday, it makes sense to expect associated digital content sales.  This has the advantage of instant gratification for customers even as it increases awareness of the potential for Amazon’s services.  Look out for Kindle Fire apps, Instant Video downloads, and Kindle Edition eBook deals sporadically throughout the sale period.

Amazon’s Black Friday Deals Week will be kicking off on Monday, November 21 and going through the 27th which is itself perhaps better known now as “Cyber Monday”.  Deals will be posted in a staggered fashion throughout each day in pretty much every category of goods that Amazon sells.  There are even some early deals posted already to set the mood for potential customers.

The Kindle will not be taking center stage in all this, unless i miss my guess.  There won’t be some sort of major promo rush.  This is the perfect time for the retailer to be presenting good deals on things with significantly higher profit margins during a sales period high on one-off purchasing.  It would be silly to have this much traffic built up without any effort to cater to what has to be considered a major source of recurring customers, though, so Kindle Owners (especially Kindle Fire Owners) won’t be left out of the fun.

Why Some People Are Annoyed By Kindle Book Sales Numbers

Not too long ago, Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) announced that they were finally officially selling more Kindle Edition eBooks than they were print books, even discounting free book downloads.  It was a big deal and, I think, still is.  It indicates changing perceptions of what a book is to a reader at the conceptual level.  I’m not saying that the battle is won or anything, but milestones matter.

Since that time, people have reacted in a number of ways.  Publishers have expressed skepticism, which makes perfect sense given their level of investment in keeping eBook prices as high as possible.  People like me who are fans of the Kindle, its associated platform, and the community building up around it have expressed the obvious enthusiasm.  I’m not claiming a lack of bias on this point.  At least one analyst, a Michael Norris, has publicly called the claim “obnoxious” and expressed the opinion that the whole announcement was a publicity stunt made possible by taking things completely out of context.

Context is indeed what matters here.  Norris goes on to express the opinion that Amazon must be padding their numbers with some apparently astounding sales from the popular Kindle Singles program.  While I’m skeptical of the claim that the Singles are where Amazon is making most of their sales, having looked through the selection more than once, it doesn’t really matter.  The fact that the Kindle Singles are shorter doesn’t make them “not books” in my eyes.  Really, I don’t think it does for this guy either.  I believe what he is objecting to is the fact that a product selling for $0.99 can hold as much weight as a product going for $12.99 when it comes time to compare sales. He comes out and says “Obviously, when you’re selling units so inexpensively, you’re going to sell more of those than, for example, a $14 paperback print book” and thinks he’s making a point against eBooks.

This gets to the heart of the matter, and I think it explains the difference between what customers want to know and what publishers would like them to know.  As a reader and buyer of books, both electronic and otherwise, I am more interested in the number of copies being sold than I am in how much profit somebody is making off of them.  I’m not a stockholder.  If somebody tells me that in spite of 20% of all book sales in a year being eBooks only 5% of a specific publisher’s income came from them, I wonder what that publisher was doing wrong, not what is wrong with eBook loving customers.

What I’m trying to get at is that saying that the numbers are misleading just because they address an aspect of the transition to a new medium that you don’t like is not cool.  Yes, this is a different context from what you may be used to, but it is not out of context.  If anything, it highlights a more relevant piece of information about the new publishing business than most other things I have seen.  Is the announcement a bit self-serving on Amazon’s part?  Of course, or why would they have made it?  It wouldn’t be useful, though if it didn’t tell people something they wanted to know.  The Kindle is doing well, possibly better than anybody could have expected at this point, and whether or not that had to do with Kindle Singles it seems that people were interested enough to take notice.

Amazon Kindle Now Sells More Books Than Print

Long before we had the Kindle to play with, Amazon was still making a big impression in book sales.  They got started over 15 years ago now and in that time managed to become the number one destination for anybody wanting to pick up reading material.  This in itself is an amazing achievement for any company.  Then, 4 years back, they introduced the Kindle.  A good situation got better.  In these four years, Amazon has brought the eBook from a fad to a point where sales of electronic texts exceed those of print books in their entirety.

That’s right, it finally happened.  Since April 1st, Amazon’s Kindle Store has sold 105 Kindle eBooks for every 100 print books they have sold in any format.  We knew it was going to happen eventually, of course.  First they outsold hardcovers last July, then paperbacks six months later, and now this.  The speed of the progression is as impressive as the accomplishment itself.

To put this in the proper perspective, a couple things need to be kept in mind.  For one, all of these milestones I mention were factoring in only paid sales.  The free editions that tend to be the first selection of the new Kindle owner were left out for obvious reasons or else this probably would have happened a while back.  Really, how many people make their way through all their free downloads though?

Also, given the timing, this clearly came prior to and had nothing to do with the introduction of the discounted, ad-supported Kindle w/ Special Offers. This means that you can’t consider this more widely appealing Kindle offering to be part of the trend when Amazon lets us know that their 2011 Kindle Edition sales to date have been more than three times those of 2010.  When you consider than in about a month the Kindle w/ Special Offers has become the best selling member of the Kindle family by far, the trend seems poised to continue.

The Kindle Store is now home to over 950,000 titles, including 109 of 111 current NYT Best Sellers.  The vast majority of these titles are priced under $9.99, including the aforementioned Best Sellers.  Again, these numbers don’t even try to factor in the millions of titles that are available for free due to expired copyrights or the many books available through other sources that can be used on the Kindle.  On top of this, new titles are being added all the time including many from Amazon’s successful self-publishing platform.  Over 175,000 books have been added to the store in 2011 alone.

We’ve known for a long time that the eBook was on the rise.  It was only a matter of time before it became the dominant format.  While this is only citing the success of one retailer, Amazon is leading the way.  They have localized stores in multiple countries, are steadily expanding, and continue to distribute the most popular eReader on the market in spite of steadily increasing competition from tablets and competing eReaders.  Even without the upcoming Kindle Tablets, the Kindle is demonstrating an ability to keep up the momentum.

Nearly One Third of Internet Users Like the Kindle

According to a December survey of internet users conducted by J.P. Morgan, nearly a third(28%, to be exact) of these users either own a Kindle or have plans to purchase one in the next year. This would definitely seem to be held up by the record breaking sales that Amazon reported for the holiday season.  Even given the impressive numbers already, and the high expectations for the year to come, it is hard to picture a third of the internet having their hands on any eReader, even the Kindle, but it’s definitely a reassuring number for fans.

In terms of cross market interaction, for lack of a better way to put it, ownership of the iPad seems to have significant crossover with that of the Kindle.  The report states that 40% of current iPad owners surveyed already own a Kindle and an additional 23% are planning to pick one up in the next year.  While many assumed that Apple’s full-color, multifunction device would be the death of the Kindle due to its versatility, there ended up being less of a Kindle vs iPad situation and more of interest in the unique capabilities of each.  And, of course, for those who don’t have themselves a Kindle in hand yet, there’s always the Kindle for iPad app, so all is well in the eReading world I suppose.

The Nook didn’t fare quite so well among respondents.  Only about 45% of those surveyed had any knowledge of the product’s existence compared to 76% for the Kindle and 84% for the iPad.  While it was still a bestselling product for Barnes & Noble, and it was certainly helped along by the ability to demo the eReader in stores nationwide, as of yet there seems to be no real Kindle vs Nook competition when it comes down to market saturation.  Part of the failure to take the edge over the Kindle could be attributed to the increasing availability of Amazon’s eReader in brick and mortar locations such as Target and Best Buy.  Regardless, the numbers just aren’t quite there yet for what is widely considered the second-best eReader on the market today.

With eBooks taking off as they have, it’s never been more important for booksellers to be aware of the options available for future endeavors.  Amazon has obviously established their place as the most prominent distributor of eBooks on the net, as well as building an excellent variety of ways to view them. Basically, after them everybody else is struggling to catch up.  There are some great pieces of reading hardware coming out these days, and some interesting offerings in terms of media, like Google eBook, but the only line that really seems able to hold up both ends of things securely has been the Kindle.  It isn’t the only option, of course, but it is the one that best combines convenience of use and purchasing with a great interface and reliable equipment. We’ll have to wait and see where color eReaders take us in the near future, but for now it seems like this would be a hard act to catch up to for anybody.

Kindle Exceeds Expectations This Year

Early on, analysts were guessing that the Kindle had about 5 million sales in its 2010 future.  Overall, an impressive gain after Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) managed about 2.4 million last year (according to anonymous report since Amazon doesn’t disclose sales figures on this). Current estimates, however, have the projection set at an even more impressive 8 million units by year’s end.  We obviously knew things were going well when we heard in October that the new Kindle, only released in July, was already outselling last year’s fourth quarter Kindle figures by a noticeable amount, but the numbers are even more exceptional than anticipated.

It’s been an interesting year for eReaders in general.  The Kindle‘s chief competition, the Nook, went color(perhaps prematurely, perhaps not, depending on your point of view), the iPad has successfully carved a huge place for itself in the portable computing marketplace and paved the way for an entire Tablet PC industry in the process, and eBooks have become so commonplace that it is actually harder to find something with a screen that you can’t read on than it is to find a way to read your new book.  There was some concern expressed, quite loudly at times, that the stand-alone eReader was a thing of the past with the coming of the tablet PC and the Kindle vs iPad debates.  Some people were convinced that two such devices couldn’t coexist.  This has obviously not panned out, in spite of Apple’s impressive sales figures since the April debut of the iPad.  It seems clear that the demand is only going to grow for some time yet.  As for the Nook Color, time will tell.  It’s certainly a neat addition, even if some see it as less than ideal for its primary purpose, and given how great the Kindle vs Nook competition was as a spur for development in the eReader marketplace, we can hope that it will do at least well enough to stay in the game.

What makes this whole trend even more useful for Amazon is that the Kindle isn’t their only means of distribution.  Even for those who don’t see a use in having something quite so narrowly focussed, you can’t avoid seeing the Kindle App line coming up wherever you need it.  Projections put annual sales of eBooks at 2.8 billion dollars within the next five years, according to analysts.  Right now, it looks like the biggest slice of that is heading through Amazon, whether to Kindle owners or not.  While the format might not be what some people would prefer, Amazon choosing not to support the popular EPUB standard, this makes Kindle Editions one of the safest ways to be certain of your eBook purchasing.  It’s just that little bit of extra reassurance if you know that you never have to worry about losing your files over a hardware crash or wrongly deleted folder, right?

Basically, an all around great year for both the Kindle and the eBook industry in general.  Hopefully projections bear out and we have even more to look forward to in the near future.  Reading’s never been so convenient or accessible.

‘Kindelized’ Christmas

Kindle AdvertisementWith Christmas coming up, I noticed the news about Kindle is focused on predicting the number of Kindle sales during pre-Christmas shopping time. I also see some Christmas anticipation from the Kindle community – some folks cannot wait until the X day to give Kindle as a gift to someone special, others hope to find Kindle in their Christmas stocking, and a couple of people indulge in bragging about getting Kindle as an early Christmas present (most likely they were also the givers).

Does the fact that Kindle is the best selling item on Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), magnify the urge to buy Kindle even more? Would it be the “herd-instinct” (kudos to Nietzsche for coining the term), i.e. everybody has Kindle, therefore I want one; or it would be due to the belief – if so many people purchase Kindle then it must be good? Well, as for me – clearly, it makes me wonder. Who would we attribute the predicted numbers for Kindle sales – to the agile marketing strategy, or to Kindle’s superiority among the e-book readers? Mind you, the 8 million of future Kindle sales is a mere prognosis for now. Personally, I cannot wait to see if this prognosis will be supported by the facts after Christmas. In any case, I am applauding to Amazon marketing team: the Kindle advertisement’s slogan is solid, strong, and concise.

Kindle vs iPad Demand Survey

A recently released ChangeWave survey tracking consumer data in the eReading marketplace came up with some interesting results for Kindle enthusiasts this time around.  While there was a lot of data, mostly demonstrating the justifiably increasing popularity of the iPad, there are a few specific pieces that are particularly interesting for those of us interested in the future of the dedicated eReader market.

Defining the eReader:

In looking at this topic, one of the things that it seems important to keep in mind, at least to me, is that the Kindle is essentially an eBook-specific reading device.  Yes, it is nice to have the option to grab your newspaper or news feed on it, and I do these myself, but that’s not where the device shines, nor where it is really meant to stand out.  If, for the sake of these surveys, we’re going to consider everybody who looks at a blog, a magazine, or a newspaper to have been using their device as an eReader, then that includes a lot of things that are peripheral to everything besides the iPad.  Before anybody jumps down my throat on this one, I’m not claiming that there are no people who want an eReader to read their magazines on or that that’s an unimportant market, merely one that only one of the devices was ever really intended to take into account in the first place.  When it comes to specifically eBooks, the current user base numbers reflect a different balance.

Future eReader Demand:

This is perhaps the most immediately relevant bit of information to look at, for a lot of people.  While we don’t have much to go on in terms of rationale behind these purchase decisions, it is very nice to see dedicated eReaders as a whole, and the Kindle in particular, holding a strong position here. Even with the iPad having the more diverse functionality, showing 42% for the iPad against 38% for dedicated eReaders(Kindle, Nook, and Sony) with as many as 18% of respondents undecided tells me the numbers are staying pretty close.

Current eReader Ownership:

This was the most interesting of the data sets to me, when it comes right down to it.  In a survey of over 2800 respondents, iPad ownership doubled in just four months, while Kindle ownership dropped by 15%. This doesn’t mean that 15% of Kindle owners dropped their eReaders off at the dump or switched to the iPad, obviously, simply that a more significant number of people owned iPads or both iPad and Kindle devices.  Not having a copy of the report on my desk at the moment, I can’t say anything certain about methods, but it would seem likely that you hit your participant numbers faster now that the iPad has really taken off, so Kindle numbers will appear to fall as a result.

Conclusions:

Does all this mean that the Kindle is on its way out?  Nah.  The market is growing and tablet PCs are going to take their share.  If all you want to do is read magazines and surf the web anyway, it certainly makes more sense to have one of those right now than it does an eReader.  For those of us who want to sit for hours with a good book in front of us, preferences are still pretty clearly elsewhere.

Kindle in Stores

There is, and always has been, some confusion for people regarding the nature of eReaders and their place in the market today.  While there are, undoubtedly, quite a few people yet who will refuse to consider them valuable devices for being single purpose or still developing to their full potential, I have come to believe that most now accept the fact that the eReader is here to stay.  New price points for these devices in recent months have made them more accessible than ever, efforts to bring them into classrooms are gaining more steam every day, and the available selection of literature is truly impressive and continues to expand.  Some may yet be unconvinced, and that is of course their prerogative, but for those who find themselves genuinely interested there remains just the one real question:  “Which one is the best for me?”

There have always been reviews to read.  We here have done our best to give some head-to-head comparisons of the most popular devices, be they Kindle, nook, or Sony Reader, but let’s be honest and admit that when you’re thinking about something like this, it is often most helpful to have the thing in your hand and be able to play with it for a moment.  To that end, it’s useful to know where to look for these devices and what you can expect to see what you get there.

Local eReader Stores

Target(NYSE:TGT)

The first major retailer to carry multiple eReader devices, to the best of my knowledge.  There you can find the Kindle side-by-side with one or more of the most recent Sony offerings.  At least in theory. What I, and many others, have found is not quite as useful.  Target does not push their eReader section, so unless you’re lucky and find yourself helped by an enthusiast employee you are likely to be comparing two units that nobody has bothered to charge this month, an outdated model(my local Target still displays the impressive but obsolete Sony PRS-505), or, in many stores, not be able to compare at all since they only made room on the sales floor for a single device.  If you get lucky this can be a goldmine, since many people overlook the Sony brand, but it really is a matter of luck.

Best Buy(NYSE:BBY)

This is the really exciting one, especially with recent developments.  Starting at the end of September, Best Buy claims they will be carrying the newest generation of the Kindle(And soon after, the Kindle DX) alongside their already displayed stock of nooks and Sony Readers.  Some users will also find the ability to look at smartphones and Tablet PCs such as the iPad to be of value in their decision.  I might not personally think they hold a candle to an eReader but that doesn’t mean you won’t!  This one brings things close to home and adds a convenience that many people will welcome and value greatly.  You can’t say they push the eReaders actively, but in my experience there is almost always a moderately knowledgeable employee nearby when you have a question about them or need some help getting things working.  That cannot but help new users; especially those who might find themselves slightly out of their element when they find reading to be ever so slightly less intuitive than opening the cover and turning the page.

Barnes & Noble(NYSE:BKS)

Obviously, this is pretty much a place to check out the nook.  This isn’t nearly as good for an active comparison, but they do a good job of making sure you know what accessories are available and what the device can do.  B&N actively pushed their product, so you WILL walk away knowing everything you can think to ask about.  This is also the only store I could recommend purchasing an eReader at on the spot.  In most cases, especially when talking about the Kindle, it just has a chance to complicate things immensely as far as returns or servicing when your original receipts don’t come from the manufacturer.  Better safe than sorry.

Borders(NYSE:BGP)

Borders is a latecomer to the eBook game, but like anybody else they are trying to get their devices to as many people as possible in hopes of locking a percentage of the market into their store and its DRM.  I don’t say this to be critical, it’s simply what everybody is trying to do here.  You won’t find the Kindle or the nook at Borders.  Instead they present their customers with an increasingly wide variety of slightly less well known brands in hopes that the one you’ve not heard much about will happen to surprise you.  This is where you’ll find the Kobo, the Libre, some of the Sony Readers, and more, depending on how well handled your local store is.  Supposedly, by the end of this year we’ll be seeing an area set aside dealing with nothing BUT eReaders in pretty much every one of their locations.

There are more places to check out your potential new toy.  These are just the ones that stand out because they allow you to compare directly or, in the case of Barnes & Noble, do such a good job helping people understand their device that it’s worth the trip.  I would still recommend buying your Kindle online for ease of support.  The same might be best of the others as well.  It’s never a good idea to jump into something like this uninformed, however, and the ability to run in and look at eReaders for yourself might end up being your deciding factor.  I certainly recommend it.

Kindle 3 Review Follow Up

Kindle 3 Weight

Kindle 3 Weight

I’ve had some time to play around with my new Kindle 3 and to read what other users are saying so now I’m ready to publish this follow up with some of the information I’ve recently gathered of forgot to publish before.

In case you haven’t read reviews I’ve published before, here they are:

  • Original Kindle 3 review (July, 29th)В - largely based on official Amazon press release, other online sources and personal speculations.
  • Kindle 3 review round-up from online media (August, 6th) – summary of opinions from sources like CNET, PCWorld etc.
  • Kindle 3 review (August, 28th) – my personal hand-on review of the device with battery life estimations, screen contrast comparison, partial disassembly and other useful bits of information.

One thing I would like to mention specifically is the weight. I weighted the device on a digital scale it showed 8.2 oz. At first I though that my scale was off but then reports and pictures started surfacing on forums indicating that Kindle 3G + WiFi weights as low as 8.1 oz and Kindle WiFi as low as 7.8 oz. Official Amazon specs indicate 8.7 oz for 3G + WiFi and 8.2 oz for WiFi only version.

Kindle 3 software

Kindle 3 runs software version 3.0 (515460094) and has serial number starting with B006 marking it as new hardware series. No surprise there. In the past Amazon has stopped updating 1.* firmware for first generation Kindles once Kindle 2 came out. Hopefully this is not going to be the case with Kindle software 2.* despite the fact that apparently Kindle 3 will clearly outsell Kindle 2 soon enough (more on that later).

Kindle 3 is much more similar to second generation Kindle than Kindle 2 was to original Kindle 1. Kindle 2 user base now is much larger than Kindle 1 user base was when Kindle 2 came out. It would be easier for Amazon to maintain one code branch than two (since it seems that 1.* software development is essentially non-existent). Unicode characters have been added to 3.0 software. Eventually books in Kindle store will start using these characters. It would be very bad PR for Amazon when people with older Kindles will start buying these books only to see empty boxes instead of characters. This is why I guesstimate that eventually 3.* software will make it to Kindle 2 and older Kindle DX devices. Perhaps it would be software 3.1 or 3.0.1

There are several new features in Kindle software 3.0 that I forgot to mention in the original review:

  • Device password. You can set a password that will be required to use the device every time it’s turned on. Without the password it’s impossible to access Kindle UI or Kindle USB drive. It’s pretty useful if you keep sensitive work related documents on your Kindle. In case you forget your password, it is possible to completely reset the device deleting all stored information in the process.
  • Collections. Although these are not exactly new and have been around before Kindle 3, I’ve never taken the time to write about them and would like to point this feature out. Historically all Kindle books were piled in one flat list that was sorted by last-read date, title or author. Best way to navigate it was searching. Several months ago Amazon has introduced collections as a way to organize your library. A collection is similar to a tag as one book can belong to several collections (Sci-Fi, H. G. Wells, “Favorite Books”, etc)
  • Manually setting device time. Previously Kindle relied on time information from 3G wireless network. Now you can manually set Kindle clock if you have WiFi-only version, don’t have wireless coverage or live on a different time than your GSM provider.

Kindle 3 Unicode support

Kindle 3 finally got a font with broader range of Unicode characters. These include Cyrillic, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese. I’ve done some quick tests and to me it looks like characters are there. However I didn’t do a full scale test of all possible characters from these planes. Some people on forums and in comments complained about poor support of Chinese and Korean but so far there has been little specifics.

There were some claims that non-Latin characters display the same in all typefaces. I’ve verified it and it does seem to be true for Asian characters and definitely not true for Cyrillic. Here are some screenshots showing different typefaces in Russian text.

Kindle 3 Russian Typefaces

Kindle 3 Russian Typefaces

By the way, good way to download and format Unicode text files so that paragraph breaks would display properly and lines will not needlessly wrap is eBook Text Formatter tool that I’ve created a while ago. It still works great.

Kindle 3 WebKit-based browser

New web-browser in Kindle 3 is great. It can event load and run desktop AJAX version of Gmail (however using mobile version at https://m.gmail.com/ is still recommended as it’s much faster). Some users reported problems with browser or apps. Kindle software would occasionally crash. It is generally believed that it’s caused by background indexing process running alongside browser. Whenever new book, text file or document is downloaded to Kindle, it is indexed to provide almost instantaneous search results. This process is resource intensive and may conflict with web-browser or word game applications that are available for Kindle.

Therefore it is recommended to refrain from browsing while Kindle indexes new books. Usually this process is completed within minutes of downloading a book or a document. If you download hundreds of books at once it may take hours and seriously drain your battery. 75% overnight battery drain has been reported after downloading 100+ books.

In case your Kindle browser stops working completely (“launch browser” button does nothing or causes a crash), restarting your Kindle will fix this problem. To restart your Kindle press “Home”, “Menu”, select “Settings”, press “Menu” and select “Restart”. In case this doesn’t work, holding the power button for 30 seconds and then releasing it does the trick. Please note that Kindle will not restart while you are holding the button. You need to press the button, slowly count to 30 and then release it. Within several seconds your Kindle will reboot.

Kindle 3 User Reviews

For some reason there were no user reviews for Kindle 3 on Amazon website until Saturday afternoon. Perhaps they were held in the pipeline for some reason. Now that reviews are finally in, you can check them out here.

For Kindle 3G + WiFi and Kindle WiFi there are 139 total reviews at the moment. Of these 104 gave Kindle 5/5 stars, 24 gave it 4 stars, 3 gave it 3 stars and 8 people were completely unhappy with their purchase and gave Kindle 3 one star. Since there so few one-star reviews, I took a look at them individually and here’s the scoop:

I would like to start completely quoting review by Roger: “The ipad has so much more functionality, why anyone would want to limit themselves to a Kindle is beyond me.” It doesn’t look to me like Roger ever had or will have a Kindle. Nonetheless he’s entitled to his own opinion and we’ll leave it at that :)

3 people seemed to have received defective devices. I can understand how this can lead to a bad review, however every device has a potential of being defective. When I started building servers of the first batch of 8 HDDs from a major manufacturer 3 failed within 24 hours of stress testing. Bad luck, I guess because since I replaced these 3 and installed dozens more like them I’m yet to see a single hard drive fail. So given the overall volume of Kindles shipped, 3 reviews about defective devices is pretty good.

One reviewer was extremely unhappy with quality of Korean font glyphs. Kindle 3 Unicode support is something that I want to investigate further. I’ll definitely report on it once I have the full story.

There is one bad Kindle 3 review dealing with new smaller buttons. Personally I liked Kindle 2 buttons more as well. New controller layout takes getting used to and judging by scarcity of negative reviews, benefits like WiFi and better screen greatly outweigh discomfort from smaller buttons. By the way there is a good old trick for reading from Kindle without having to use buttons at all: start text-to-speech, adjust the speech speed to your reading speed and then mute the volume. Pages will flip automatically.

User with “Book Worm” alias gave new Kindle 3 one star because he purchased Kindle 2 right before Kindle 3 was announced so the user ended up paying $259 for and older device rather than getting new one for $189. I can completely understand this frustration. Unfortunately Amazon doesn’t have a specific schedule of “surprise” product launches like Apple when everyone expects new iPhone to be announced in Spring and release in the Summer. Such things happened in the past when international Kindle or graphite Kindle DX was released. While it’s unlikely that anything can be done in this particular case, I would like to note that historically Amazon Customer support was quite flexible on 30-day return period. According to comments from several users you can get a refund (if the price dropped) or return your Kindle for a newer one up to one week after 30 days have passed from your purchase. But please don’t tell Amazon that I told you this :)

Final bad Kindle 3 review has something to do with the way user set up his/her account rather than with the device itself so I’ll not comment on it.

For these 8 negative reviews there are 128 positive reviews from people who are mostly extremely happy with their Kindle experience. Some highlights include:

  • Small size and weight are mentioned in almost every positive review (and even some negative onces)
  • Improved screen contrast and fonts is the second biggest thing mentioned in positive reviews.
  • People love new low $189 price point of Kindle 3G + WiFi and $139 of Kindle WiFi.

In the future I’ll do a more detailed analysis of positive reviews and publish the stats here.

Kindle 3 Sales Numbers

On August 25th in the press release announcing early shipments of Kindle 3, Amazon also revealed that Kindle 3 is the best-selling product by four-week sales:

(NASDAQ: AMZN)в_”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 Kindleв_Ts over two-year run as the bestselling product across all the products sold on Amazon.com.

In the summer and amid slowing economy Kindle 3 was able to beat international Kindle 2 launch that was tied to the holiday shopping season last year. This is quite impressive but not surprising when one considers improved specs and features, price that got slashed in half and amount of customer awareness generated by previous launches.

Amazon’s Kindle Gets Even More Popular

Recent releases from Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) have indicated that the Kindle, proving it deserves its place as Amazon’s #1 Best Selling item, has tripled in sales this year compared to last, in part due to last month’s price slashing.  While many deride that move as the end of the Kindle as a profitable endeavor, there can be no doubt that the greater the availability of the eReader and the platform in general, the healthier the product-line it supports will become.

Being spread, as it is, between the Kindle device, iOS applications, Android applications, various smart phones, and PC applications, there are surprisingly few people left who cannot, should the choose to do so, access the eBook of their choice in a convenient and comfortable setting.  As some reports indicate that the eBook market has grown by more than 160% in the past year, this increasingly pervasive presence gives Amazon an impressive advantage and even further encouragement to keep the momentum up.  We already know that Kindle Editions are outselling hardcovers by a significant percentage these days, even if you exclude free eBooks from consideration and don’t exclude hardcover sales for books not available on the Kindle.  It’s starting to feel like this is only the beginning of a much larger trend, however, that could truly change the way we enjoy books.

Any thoughts?

USA Today Adds Kindle Sales to Best Seller List

USA Today LogoIt seems like the USA Today has decided to include Kindle book sales in their best seller lists.  This move demonstrates just how significant the Kindle is becoming in the publishing world.  Sales on the Kindle store have grown to such a large number that they’ve come to be considered just as signifcant as traditional sales.

This move is also a great way for the USA Today to increase the influence of its best seller list.  For most people, best selling books is synonymous with with the New York Times Best Seller List.  The New York Times list the one recognized by Amazon (where Best Sellers are discounted) and most other retailers.  Not to mention the fact that you usually don’t see advertisers quoting a book’s position on the USA Today Best Seller List.  But by adding Kindle sales, the USA Today is trying to anticipate current trends and make headway against the Times list.  So far, the USA Today is the only publication to have done this, which might mean that their list will be more accurate.

Unless of course The New York Times already counts Kindle sales.  The data used to compile their list is a trade secret, so its possible they already include electronic sales and just haven’t told anybody.

The numbers are in, Amazon has sold 240,000 Kindles so far

Wireless Access with WhispernetI guess the figures had to come out sooner or later.

240,000 Kindles have been shipped since November 2007, according to TechCrunch, that’s what their source claims. We know that Amazon always stays coy about sales as part of its company policy so we may never get any conformation from Amazon about this.

TechCrunch says that their source is close to Amazon with direct knowledge of the numbers, possibly the same source that claimed Kindle v2 is on it’s way this fall — we’ve yet to see any evidence of that prediction.

TechCrunch goes on to say;

Doing a little back of the envelope math, that brings total sales of the device so far to between $86 million and $96 million (the price of the device was reduced to $360 from $400 last May). Then add the amounts spent on digital books, newspapers, and blogs purchased to read on the device, and you get a business that has easily brought in above $100 million so far. (Each $25 worth of digital reading material purchased per Kindle, add $6 million in total revenues).

From these numbers is appears that Kindle is already a profitable operation and has been so from the beginning, however, what we don’t know is whether after research and development costs have been factored in if the Kindle project overall is in profitability.

Wall Street has also came out with some new estimates;

Scott Devitt, an analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., predicts that Amazon is on track to sell 500,000 to 750,000 more Kindles over the next four quarters (including this one). He estimates that Kindle owners will buy an additional $120 to $150 worth of books and other content for each device, bringing the total revenues over that time period to somewhere between $225 million and $355 million. Based on that, he values the Kindle as a $1 billion business for Amazon.

So by this time next year there could possible be over a million Kindle’s sold by Amazon. In May, Citi analyst Mark Mahaney was estimating that total sales of Kindle’s this year would only reach 189,000. The image below shows what he thought would happen. Turns out that his numbers were way off, that’s analysts for you! Its time for him to significantly revise his estimate.

Citi-Group Amazon Kindle Sales Estimates

240,000 Kindle’s shipped, would you call it a success? It certainly has proved the nay-sayers wrong, it’s proved Wall Street wrong as-well.

If the numbers are to be believed, then its a wonderful start for the Kindle, the revenue from hardware sales alone is an estimated $100 million. When you begin to add on book sales, Amazon looks like its earning some major money for its shareholders.

Source: TechCrunch

Kindle on the rampage, book sales double since May hitting 12%

Time Magazine Jeff Bezos CoverRampage is literally the word to use in this instance. A Time magazine article last week said;

“on a title-by-title basis, of the 130,000 titles available on Kindle and in physical form, Kindle sales now make up over 12% of sales for those titles.”

That’s according to a Time magazine source inside Amazon, now consider that just two months ago Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sat down with with Walt Mossberg at “D: All Things Digital Conference” and said;

“Title-by-title basis…Kindle unit sales more than 6% of total book sales”

Incredible! A doubling of sales in the publishing industry is unheard of! in two months Amazon has managed doubled sales with a device which many critics claimed was not ready for prime time. The supply problems and pessimistic early reviews haven’t dented growth at all.

Which begs the question, have Kindle users started to purchase more e-books? and is that because e-books are significantly cheaper than their printed counterparts? or has Amazon been selling a stack load of Kindle’s, far more than previously thought.

Time magazine has a theory;

A couple of things could explain the uptick. The Kindle quickly sold out shortly after it was unveiled on Amazon at the end of 2007. However, the company recently cranked up supply to meet demand, and cut the price at the end of May from $399 to $359. Some analysts estimate Kindle sales at around 55,000 a month. At the same time, the Kindle is quirkier than your average gadget, and consumers are learning how to use it. It’s possible that as Kindle owners warm up to the gadget — and as the library of titles rapidly grows — they increase the rate of their purchases. We now return you to more scrutable data points…

So we are asking you, have to started to purchase more e-books for your Kindle now that you have had the device for a few months? or have you recently purchased the Kindle and was that because of the price drop?

Source: Time Magazine

Business Like Bezos: Portfolio.com interviews Amazon founder Jeff Bezos about the Kindle

Portfolio contributing editor Kevin Maney interviewed Jeff Bezos in a packed auditorium at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Bazos and Maney discussed many topics during the lengthy 1 hour 30 minute interview – everything from Bazos personal life, how he makes business/personal decisions, the founding and growth of Amazon, Amazons Infrastructure Services, Amazon Prime, Amazon A9 and of course the Kindle. It is a very in depth interview, Bazos goes into great detail about what the vision is for Kindle and how Kindle came to be – it is a fascinating interview and if you have the spare time its well worth watching.

We don’t all have a couple of spare hours every day, so if your just interested in what Bazos has says about the Kindle then you can skip most of the interview – Bazos starts talking about the Kindle in part 3 at 3min 25sec into the interview.

Partial Transcript by Wired.com:

Portfolio: Let’s talk about the Kindle. What do you want it to be?

Bezos: Any book, in any language, ever in print should be available in less than 60 seconds. We worked on it for three years. It’s been selling out since being released.

Portfolio: You sold how many?

Bezos: You asked that so innocently, but you know I’m not going to answer. We have a long-standing practice of being very shy about disclosure, and I’ll stick to that practice. The Kindle has substantially exceeded our expectations.

Portfolio: Every effort at e-books has failed. Why should this one work?

Bezos: We decided we were going to improve upon the book. And the first thing we did was try to determine the essential features of a physical book that we needed to replicate. The No. 1 feature is that it disappears. When you’re in the middle of reading, you don’t notice the ink or the glue or the stitching or the paper — all of that disappears, and you’re in the author’s world. Most electronic devices today do not disappear. Some of them are extraordinarily rude. Books get out of the way, and they leave you in that state of mental flow.

Portfolio: How do you improve on that?

You can watch the full interview 6 part interview here.

Source: Wired

Simon & Shuster make 5000 more e-books available for Kindle

See a Kindle in your cityIn a joint statement today, Amazon.com and Simon & Schuster said will make 5,000 additional titles available for the Amazon Kindle in 2008.

At Simon & Schuster, we are excited by how many Kindle books were selling and the feedback from readers who want to read our titles on their Kindles. We have also learned that readers arent just looking for new or bestselling books, but also books that are older or hard to find, said Carolyn Reidy, President and CEO, Simon & Schuster, Inc. These are the books that have proven themselves to be of enduring interest, and we want readers to be able to find them anytime, anywhere. We are pleased to take another big step toward that goal by making this great percentage of our active backlist available on Kindle by the end of 2008.

Kindle is re-igniting a love of reading after purchasing a Kindle, customers purchase, on average, just as many physical books, and their total book purchases on Amazon increase by 2.6x. Kindle books are also becoming a meaningful portion of Amazons overall book sales much sooner than we anticipated of the 125,000 books available both as a physical book and on Kindle, Kindle books already account for over 6 percent of units sold, said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. This commitment from Simon & Schuster moves us closer to our vision for Kindle, which is to make any book, ever printed, in any language available in less than 60 seconds.

Simon & Schuster said that it will be doubleing their content available for the Kindle.

One particular sentence in the statement stood out to me;

…after purchasing a Kindle, customers purchase, on average, just as many physical books, and their total book purchases on Amazon increase by 2.6x

2.6 times! I’m sure the executives at Amazon are thrilled with this particular statistic, it could mean that the Kindle has been a profitable ‘experiment’ — as Amazon puts it — from day one. I have no doubt that Simon & Schuster, and other publishers, want to grab a piece of the action now that they are aware of just how many e-books Kindle owners are buying.

Source: Yahoo Finance

Jeff Bezos interview at the “D: All Things Digital Conference”

Walt Mossberg interviews Jeff Bezos at All Things D Conference

Our old friend Walt Mossberg sat down with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos this morning at the “D: All Things Digital Conference”.

Walt Mossberg gave the Kindle a luke-warm reception back in November calling it “mediocre” and “marred by annoying flaws”. He liked the idea and the shopping experience behind the Kindle, but thought that the device itself was where Kindle’s flaw lied.

Jeff Bezos does his normal sales pitch about the Kindle, but this time he throws in a bit of new information about Kindle sales. Walt asks point blank “How many Kindles have you sold?” Jeff politely refused to answer the question instead he gave us a new stat: “Title-by-title basis…Kindle unit sales more than 6% of total book sales”. So of the 125,000 titles available for Kindle, of all those 125,000 titles that were sold — digital and print — Kindle accounted for 6% of sales. Jeff also said he envisioned a time when e-book sales formed a substantial portion of book sales at Amazon.

Jeff Bezos also commented on a Kindle v2:

“There will be a second version, a third version, a tenth version. … but a second version is not that near.”

It may take a decade to get the product to where Amazon wants it, he said. So this has confirmed what many thought, that Amazon is committed to the Kindle and there will be a Kindle v2 release sometime in the future.

The interview wasn’t just limited to talk about the Kindle, Bezos also talks about the streaming video-on-demand service for Amazon, which will be released in the next couple of weeks amongst other things.

You can see the interview below in 2 parts.

Source: All Things D

$750 million a year estimate wildly off the mark?

Mark Mahaney is the Citigroup analyst who last week made the assessment that by 2010 Amazon will be earning $750 million in revenue from the Kindle, which would account for 3% of Amazon’s total revenue. He also estimates that Amazon would shift between 189,000 – 600,000 units by the end of the year, growing to 2.2 million units by 2010. Some would argue these are very bullish estimates with good reason, and some would argue that Mark Mahaney is smoking crack, Scott Berry is one of those people who claims the latter.

This is what Scott Berry thinks:

Citi’s Mahaney has even gone so far as to suggest 3% of Amazon’s revenue (about $750M) will come from Kindles within 2 years. Worse yet, he assumes a sales ramp roughly half of the original iPod. Frankly, he’s smoking crack.

If Eliot Spitzer hadn’t brought an end to the practice some years ago (cough, cough), I’d almost think these two were trying to drum up business for their investment banks. Instead it’s probably something much more innocent, like say pumping the stock for the traders.

Strong comments indeed, lets take a look at the reasons why Scott Berry thinks like this:

Think about it: what problem is the e-book solving for consumers?

  1. Gee, if only my book was portable, I could take it with me…
  2. Pushing a button to bookmark my place is SO much easier than bending a page corner.
  3. Those nasty paper cuts.
  4. I can take my whole library with me. (Sure, I often read 10 books at a time. And I wish I could read fast enough to finish several books on a long flight.)
  5. I can download a new book whenever I need one. (Yep. And how long does that take over a pokey wireless link? EVDO isn’t everywhere. And can I read the first page while the rest is downloading?)
  6. It’s cheaper. (True, true. Unless you want to read blogs at $2/week or newspaper feeds at $15/month. That’s a lot to pay for portability.)

The first three points are quite sarcastic, and don’t add to his argument – I don’t think Scott Berry understands the concept behind the ebook. Point 4 sounds like a positive thing to me. Point 5 brings into question whether Scott has even used a Kindle before? On point 6, he is right about the blogs and newspapers being overpriced, $2 a week for a blog feed and up to $15.99 a month for a newspaper subscription is a bit pricey, but I wouldn’t call these ‘problems’ with the e-book concept.

Scott Berry’s arguments boils down to this: He thinks the entire e-book concept is a dud and wont take off and form the sound of his argument it look like he hasn’t seen, let alone used a Kindle before. Berry hasn’t spoken to anyone who has owned a Kindle, if he had he would have noticed that the vast majority of Kindle owners actually love the device, and there are rave reviews up on the Kindle discussion forums. Even may critics changed their minds once they got their hands on the actual device. And I also think he’s missing the bigger picture, the fact that it is Amazon behind the Kindle, you know, one of the biggest book retailers on the planet.

In time we will find out who is right and who is wrong, I suspect it is going to be Mr. Berry.

Source: SeekingAlpha, Mobileread Forums

First year Kindle sales vs. popular gadgets first year sales: How does the Kindle compare?

amazon kindle first year sales vs apple ipod, iphone, rim blackberry, palm pilot, motorola razr v3 and nintendo gameboy

We have all heard this past week that Amazon is expected to shift around 189,000 – 600,000 units by the end of the year – then 2.2 million units by 2010, but how does this compare with other similarly ‘revolutionary’ devices in their first year in the market?

Silicon Ally Insider has compiled the numbers for us and as we can see from the comparison – if Amazon manages to hit expectations – it puts the Kindle in the same league as the first generation Blackberry’s and iPod’s. Now consider that the Blackberry and iPods are leaders in their field were both met with the same ridicule and suspicion that the Kindle is facing today. So if Amazon keeps plugging away, ignores the critics and keeps improving the device, by the time we get to the 3rd generation Kindle those reports which claimed that the Kindle will be the next iPod might not be so wrong after all.

Also of note might be Zune sales, which after a year sold just over 1 million units. (wiki)

Can Kindle really become the next iPod? please leave your thoughts and comments below.

Source: Silicon Ally Insider via Gizmodo

$750 Million in Kindle Sales by 2010

Mark Mahaney – an Internet Analyst at Citigroup Investment Research – is predicting that revenue generated by Amazon from the sale of Kindle’s will be between $400m – $750m by 2010. That would account for 1% – 3% of Amazon’s total revenue, about half the projected revenue would be from the sale of Kindle devices and the other half from book sales after purchase. However, revenue is not profit and we don’t know what the profit margins are on the Kindle device.

Read the full statement by Mark Mahaney/Citigroup Investment Research below:

How Is Kindle Doing So Far In The Marketplace?

Our ability to answer this question is very limited. Amazon is the sole retailer of the Kindle and it has disclosed no information about its sales other than to say that it sold out in the first 5 1⁄2 hours. But we have pieced together four different clues to gain a sense of Kindle’s traction.

First, we note that Kindle has consistently been ranked among Amazon’s Bestsellers in its Electronics category. Ahead of the Apple iPod Nano, the Garmin GPS Navigator, and the Canon Powershot Digital Camera.

Second, we note that the Kindle has received a very large number of customer reviews. Per the exhibit below, we note that Kindle has received more customer reviews than any of the other Top 10 Bestselling items in Amazon’s Electronics category – 2,537 reviews as of May 12th – vs. 663 for the Apple iPod Nano 4GB Silver (3G), the #2 Bestseller. This is in part an unfair comparison. Kindle is a new product sold only on Amazon.com, while there are numerous versions of the iPod, and they are sold by numerous retailers. But still, the volume of reviews does indicate material traction for the Kindle.

Third, we see that the quality/tone of the customer reviews the Kindle is receiving is relatively positive. Below we compare the Star Rating Diffusion – 5 Stars vs. 4 Stars vs. 3 Stars etc… – for each of the Top 10 Bestselling Electronics Items on Amazon. What we see is that the Kindle actually receives fewer high scores than the other Bestsellers – 69% of its reviews are 4 or 5 Stars vs. an average of 80% for the other items. And it receives more low scores than the other Bestsellers – 22% of its reviews are 1 or 2 Stars vs. an average of 13% for the other Items. But for a Version 1 of a product “competing” against a several times iterated leading consumer electronics item like the iPod, a 69% Star 4 or 5 rating is relatively positive.

And fourth, we note that the most reviewed Customer Review of Kindle (“Why and how the Kindle changes everything” by Steve “eBook Lover” Gibson) has been reviewed by at least 27,000 people. Specifically, as of May 13th, 26,931 have read Steve Gibson’s review and actually commented on it by pressing the Yes or No button when asked if the review was helpful. And logically, there would be more people who read the review and didn’t bother to vote, although the voting step is hyper-easy. We believe that this helps provide something of a proxy for how many Kindles have likely been sold. We’d peg the number as somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 Kindles sold to date.

The numbers look about right to us, what do you guys think?

For Amazon to hit the $750 million in sales figure a few assumption have to be made. The figures are based on the assumption that sales will grow from 189,000 units by the end of 2008 then to 2.2 million units by 2010 and that Amazon will drop the price to about $300.

Source: Silicon Ally Insider

Publisher “Stunned” By Kindle Sales

Kindle with newspaperSilicon Alley Insider had reported on Evan Schnittman’s – of Oxford University Press – response to unexpectedly strong sales via Kindle:

That prompted Schnittman to look at his royalty statements, which he said “stunned” him: He had expected to sell up to 200 Kindle titles in December, but says the real numbers were “an order of magnitude” more than that.

Schnittman says that a buddy from ‘one of the biggest trade publishers in the world’ called him this week and explained to him how well the Kindle formatted eBooks were selling. In light of this news Evan Schnittman went to look at his royalty statements which “stunned” him. Schnittman says he has no idea if these kinds of sales will continue, but says that this has turned him from a digital skeptic into a digital believer and with sales figures like that it’s no wonder he’s a believer now!

With all this success, it raises the bigger question – How many eBooks does Amazon sell each month?

Please leave a comment if you have any questions or thoughts.

Source: Silicon Alley Insider