Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos refuses in a Q&A to reveal exact sales figures for the Kindle, the e-reader mobile device that the company positions as the future of reading for popular audiences, students and the enterprise. Bezos also says a color-screen version of the Kindle is years away. The Kindle DX, released in early May, features a larger screen and more functionality than its predecessors.
is playing it close to the vest with regard to sales numbers for its Kindle
line of mobile e-reader devices.
"I'm not sure we will ever reveal all the numbers," Amazon.com CEO
Jeff Bezos said during a Q&A session following the company's annual
shareholders meeting May 28. "There is a competitive advantage to
keeping the numbers close." He did add, however, that he makes a daily
point of monitoring the sales data daily.
Bezos also suggested that a color version of the Kindle is "multiple
"I've seen the color displays in the laboratory," he said,
according to online reports. "They're not ready for prime time."
Bezos originally launched
the Kindle DX at a May 6 presentation at Pace University's Michael Schimmel
Center for the Arts,
built on the site of the 19th
headquarters of The New York Times.
In addition to a larger, 9.7-inch gray-scale screen, the Kindle DX also
features 3G wireless access, 3.3GB of storage and active PDF support. Certain
functions from previous versions of the Kindle, such as the five-way
controller, remain. It retails for $489.
During the unveiling of the Kindle DX, Bezos mentioned that Amazon.com had
entered into agreements with three major newspapers and five textbook
publishers to make their products available on the Kindle. Bezos further
claimed that some 60 percent of textbooks on the market would be available
through the device.
The Kindle DX debut mirrored in many ways the rollout
of the Kindle 2 e-reader
at the Morgan Library and Museum in February, for which
Bezos concluded his presentation by bringing best-selling author Stephen King
onstage for a reading using the device.
Analysts have predicted some massive sales numbers for the Kindle devices.
Doug Anmuth of Barclays Capital estimated that the device would rack up $1.2
billion in sales in 2010 and $3.7 billion in 2012, eventually encompassing some
10 percent of Amazon.com's total sales and profits.
Bezos had previously mentioned that Kindle-related sales brought in 35
percent of the company's book-related revenue.
The rollout of the device has led to some conflict, however, most notably
Authors Guild complained in March that the Kindle 2's text-to-speech
which reads onscreen text out loud, could steal revenue from audio
books. Although the Guild never followed up with a lawsuit, Amazon.com made the
decision to disable the feature in the Kindle 2. With the Kindle DX, the
feature was preemptively modified, giving a publisher the ability to disable it
for certain books.
Not to take a challenge lying down, Sony
made a countermove in March by lowering the price of its own PRS-700 Reader to
compared with $359 for the Kindle 2. Simultaneously, Google and Sony
announced that the search engine company's public-domain e-books would be
available through the Sony device, doubling its library size to 600,000
volumes, over twice the size of Amazon.com's.