The Amazon Kindle Reader Keeps Selling In Volume

Now that the dust from the Christmas sales season has died down a little, it seems clear that it has been another hugely successful year for the Amazon Kindle ebook reader. The new third generation Kindle, which launched at the end of August 2010 has pretty much picked up where the Kindle 2.0 left off and held it’s position as Amazon’s top selling product.

During the 2010 Christmas sales period (Nov 14 to Dec 19) it was the top selling item on Amazon’s site. Aplle’s iPod Touch (the 8GB version) took second place.

As usual, Amazon is playing its cards pretty close to its corporate chest when it comes to actual numbers. However, industry analysts are now forecasting that 8 million Kindles will be sold in 2011 (revised upwards from 5 million). It’s also noteworthy that Amazon currently has an estimated 90% of all ebook sales.

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It’s the combined effect of the Kindle reader and the massive choice of Kindle books which appears to tip the scales in Amazon’s favor. Currently, customers have a selection of more than 800,000 Kindle books to choose from. Those paid titles are also supplemented by a further 1.8 million out of copyright titles – including classics by the likes of Jules Verne, Homer, Charles Dickens and Emily Bronte – which can be downloaded free of charge. You could, quite conceivably, save enough money to make your Kindle pay for itself.

Amazon has been pretty smart by making a lot of free Kindle “apps” availaable. These allow Kindle books to be read on other devices, effectively making any concerns about being left with a library of incompatible ebooks redundant. At the moment, Kindle apps exist for the Windows PC, the Mac computer, the Apple iPad, the iPhone, the Blackberry smart phone and any device running the Android operating system. It’s also worth noting that each of these apps acts as a very effective point of sale for Kindle books.

Whatever your personal feelings may be regarding the comparison between ebook readers and traditional paper books, it seems to be abundantly clear that the Amazon Kindle is the top ebook reader by a country mile. The only real competition to the Kindle at the moment comes in the shape of Apple’s iPad, a device which retails for more than triple the Kindle price.

Business analysts are anticipating a reduction in Amazon’s share of the ebook market in future. But with a 90% market share, that’s hardly a damning indictment. Some downward movement is, quite frankly, almost inevitable. Best estimates suggest a three way split between Apple, Amazon and Google by 2015. Of course, based upon current growth, Amazon will have a smaller percentage of a very much larger market.

Currently, there is no sign of any reduction in the dominance of the Kindle. The extra competition following the iPad’s launch doesn’t appear to have had any adverse effect on Amazon’s business plan. As the market matures, it seems inevitable that there will be some degree of rationalisation – but in the meantime Amazon look set to make hay while the sun shines and continue to be one of the dominant influences in the digital publishing sector for the foreseeable future.

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