Amazon.com could sell more than 8 million Kindle e-readers in 2010, according to a new report from Bloomberg. That would outpace earlier estimates that placed device sales in the 5-million range.
Amazon has traditionally been reluctant to share sales figures for the device, which it touts as one of the bestselling items on its Website. The Kindle is widely credited with sparking off the growing trend in e-readers, although it now competes with not only offerings from Sony and Barnes & Noble, but also the Apple iPad, which includes an e-reader application.
Bloomberg's Dec. 21 article also quotes from a survey of analysts predicting that Amazon would sell 5 million Kindles in 2010. Unnamed sources "aware of the company's sales projects" apparently provided that 8-million-unit figure.
If that number proves accurate, it would greatly outpace recent predictions from research firm Gartner, which pegged worldwide e-reader sales at 6.6 million units in 2010, a 79.8 percent increase from 2009. The firm also suggested that e-reader sales will rise another 68.3 percent in 2011, to more than 11 million units.
"The connected e-reader market has grown dramatically during the past two years, driven by sales of Amazon's e-readers, primarily in North America," Hugues De La Vergne, principal research analyst at Gartner, wrote in a Dec. 8 statement posted on Gartner's corporate Website. However, "growth in North American and other markets will remain constrained by the success of media tablets, such as the Apple iPad."
Although Amazon is widely assumed to hold the lion's share of the e-reader market, it faces new competition on a number of fronts. Google launched its own eBooks storefront Dec. 6, offering some 3 million titles via the Web. Google's software will allow for reading those titles on a variety of devices, including the Sony Reader, Apple iPad and iPhone, Google Android smartphones, Barnes & Noble's Nook, and even-for e-books without digital rights management-the Kindle.
In response, Amazon is planning a Kindle for Web app, which would allow users to purchase e-books via a Website and then read those titles in their browser. It would complement existing software for iPhone, Windows PC, Mac, BlackBerry, iPad, Android and Windows Phone 7 devices.
Amazon also faces substantial pressure from the iPad, with a recent survey from ChangeWave Research suggesting that the latter device's share of the e-reader market expanded from 16 percent to 32 percent between August and November. During that same time period, the survey added, the Kindle's market-share dipped from 62 percent to 47 percent, despite holding a substantial lead over the Sony Reader and Nook.