By Harry McCracken | Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 8:17 am
Amazon has announced that it’s started shipping its third-generation Kindle e-reader to customers.The new version is thinner and lighter, with a better screen and longer battery life, and it now starts at $139 (for a Wi-Fi version). Basically, it’s the most Kindle-like Kindle yet, rather than an iPad wannabee. I’m looking forward to seeing one in person.
In Apple-like fashion, Amazon likes to crow about how well the Kindle is selling. But unlike Apple, which frequently quotes sales stats in millions or billions, Amazon has never said how many Kindles it’s sold.
So the company always brags in a vague, self-referential way, which it’s doing today:
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 Kindle’s over two-year run as the bestselling product across all the products sold on Amazon.com.
Amazon long ago dedicated the best real estate on its site–the top of its homepage–exclusively to Kindle hype. So it would be astonishing if it wasn’t the best settling product on the site. And with the repeated price cuts the e-reader gotten, it’s not surprising that sales continue to increase.
There’s no doubt that the Kindle is an important product and a hit for Amazon, but unless the company discloses actual figures someday, you’ve got to wonder: Does it choose not to get specific because it worries that hard numbers would provoke a spate of “E-readers are still a tiny market compared to the iPod and other landmark gizmos” stories?