Amazon.com says its latest Kindle, due Aug. 25, is outselling its predecessors in the month since its launch. That suggests the e-reader market remains strong despite Apple's iPad.
Amazon.com is shipping its latest-generation Kindle to
customers Aug. 25, two days ahead of the previously announced release date. In
the month since its unveiling, according to the online retailer, the new device
is on pace to outsell its predecessors.
Although Amazon habitually refuses to offer shipment data
related to its e-reader franchise, if those sales numbers prove authentic, it
would suggest the Kindle is holding its own against the combined threat of the
Apple iPad and other e-readers saturating the market. Amazon's U.S. Kindle
Store now holds more than 670,000 e-books, with roughly a third of those added
in the past seven months.
announced the third-generation Kindle July 28
, revealing a device with a
higher-contrast e-ink screen, longer battery life, Wikipedia access, support
for password-protected PDFs and a more lightweight body. The Kindle retails for
$189, while a WiFi-only version costs $139. Within days of that announcement, Amazon
posted a "temporarily sold out" on the Kindle page
The Kindle WiFi's sticker price undercuts that of Barnes
& Noble's Nook WiFi by $10, yet another move in the long-running price war
between the two booksellers. On June 21, hours after Barnes & Noble dropped
the cost of its original Nook to $189, Amazon matched that price for the
A few days after the new Kindle's debut, two downloadable
puzzle games appeared in the Kindle Store. That seemed an attempt to match the
Nook's selection of Android-based games, and the latest in the rivals' efforts
to load more software applications onto their respective devices. In January,
Amazon announced a Kindle SDK (software development kit) for developers to
create games and applications for the platform, and deliver them via Amazon
Whispernet; the Nook's newer software features include "Read In Store," which
allows the device's users to browse the retailer's e-library for free inside
any Barnes & Noble location.
Despite those battles for mind- and market-share within the
e-reader segment, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble may face their biggest
threat in the form of the Apple iPad, which includes an e-reader application.
"Last night, Apple stated it has shipped 3.27 [million]
iPads since the April product launch, surpassing our estimate for an installed
base of [around 3 million] Amazon Kindles to date despite supply constraints,"
Marianne Wolk, an analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group, wrote in a
co-authored July 21 analyst report. "As [Apple's] supply constraints ease,
Apple iPad shipments should ramp and it could ship as many as 12 to 15
[million] iPads in 2010-a compelling base for publishers to consider."