Amazon’s Bezos still won’t say how many Kindles sold; Emptily proclaims ‘millions of people’

“ keeps secret the number of Kindles it sells, saying the devices generate too small a portion of overall revenues to warrant disclosure,” Douglas MacMillan reports for BusinessWeek.

MacMillan reports, “In a press release detailing the e-commerce giant’s solid all-around performance in the fourth quarter of 2009, CEO Jeff Bezos says, ‘Millions of people now own Kindles.'”

“Amazon spokeswoman Mary Osako declines to specify whether the word ‘millions’ was deliberately pluralized in the release,” MacMillan reports. “‘We’re letting the quote stand for itself,’ she says.”

MacMillan reports, “The size of the Kindle market has been the subject of much guesswork… Forrester Research recently estimated that 2.5 million Kindles have been sold, based on consumer surveys.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The reason Amazon won’t give Kindles sales figures is because they’re disappointing.

This Kindle fantasy, which we’ve never bought into — the complete lack of actual sales figures from Amazon doesn’t help to sell us — is about to come crashing down for everyone else. Even before iPad ships, Apple already has long had two Kindle (hardware) killers, iPhone and iPod touch.

Apple’s currently shipping devices already offer e-reader functions, including Amazon’s Kindle app itself. And, unlike Amazon, Apple hasn’t sold just a meager 2.5 million devices. Apple sold some 20 million iPhone and iPod touch devices in the holiday quarter alone; 40 times the Kindle sales estimated by analysts. 40 times. To date, adding in the holiday quarter estimates, Apple has sold roughly 75 million iPhones and iPod touches combined, all of which, providing they are running at least iPhone OS 2.0, are capable of using Amazon’s Kindle app, not to mention a huge selection of other e-reader apps. 2.5 million Kindles vs. 75 million iPhones and iPod touches. The facts are the facts: For quite some time now, the far and away #1 electronic reading device in the world is from Apple, not Amazon.

Mr. Bezos should forget his amateurish, goofy, severely-limited hardware and focus all of his company’s attention on Amazon’s Kindle software for Apple hardware.


  1. Agree with MDN. The Kindle hardware was just blown away by the iPad. The iPad OS and the ecosystem that powers it rides on the same faster than light travel spaceship that the iPhone/iPod Touch rides on. It ain’t slowing down folks.

  2. The Kindle has served it’s purpose. It primed the market for the “Next Generation” of PADD. The iPhone/touch did little to hurt the Kindle as the reading surface is just Too Tiny for a comfortable long read. Web page, sure. Magazine article? Maybe not. Better for Amazon was the decision to make it easy for iPhone – and, later, iPad – users to access their library, to buy Amazon’s e-Books. Any profit they lose from diminished Kindle sales will be made up in their e-Book sales to iPad owners. Win-Win.

  3. MDN’s take notwithstanding. I am an avid Apple user of every product, but I recognize when another product is good and has a niche. I have owned the Sony eReader and the Kindle 2. Both are great products, and do what they do well. The Kindle 2 is not a bad piece of hardware and it serves the purpose well of being an e-ink based eReader. For $259, it was money well spent. Additionally the book costs are reasonable as well. Add to this the eye strain is non-existent because of the e-ink screen.

    If you have ever tried to read much on the iPhone you will find eventually it’s tiring to the eye. I have books and other items I read on my iPhone and I only do so for a short period of time due to the bother on my eyes of reading the screen for an extended period of time. I suspect the same will be true for the iPad, which I intend to stand in line for to acquire on day one.

    The only e-Read that suffers because of the iPad is the Kindle DX. Because of the iPad, and the resulting dip in sales of the Kindle DX as it competes with the iPad, I suspect the price will drop to $349 for the DX and $199 for the Kindle 2. For most people this will be a reasonable purchase for a stand alone eReader that functions well and is easy to read.

    Amazon might not disclose their sales, and that’s OK. If they aren’t great, so what. I happen to think the Kindle is worth the purchase, and apparently others feel the same as well.

  4. Hmm – it is better for Apple to have competition in the market. We will have to wait and see if the iPad sells well. The app store is a huge differentiator and the iPad is way more than an eBook reader so it will probably do well.

  5. Serious readers (ie: people who read contstantly, non-stop, forever – like my mom) will probably do better with a Kindle. Everyone else will buy an iPad.

    iPad: 80% (Including R2)
    Kindle: 15%
    Everybody else: 5%

  6. Apple should thank Amazon for preparing the publishers to make their goods available and at a reasonable price. Obviously there is room for improvement, but content availability looks like it won’t be a problem, unlike the movie moguls and the lack of content on AppleTV.

  7. I will say this again:

    e-Ink is MORE difficult on the eyes than LED-backed LCD screen in almost ALL reading situations.

    In order for e-Ink to be easily readable, one needs OPTIMAL light. Anything other than optimal light, and your eyes get tired FAST.

    LCD displays have optimal, even and uniform lighting across the whole surface. Unless you’re reading your e-Ink display in broad sunlight, your light just isn’t optimal.

    Amazon has been amazingly successful with their PR on e-Ink. There are armies of people who genuinely believe that their Kindle is actually easier to read than a LCD screen (such as MacBook). This is simply NOT TRUE.

    Consequently, Amazon should expect severe drop in sales of Kindle beginning 1 April.

  8. Are you nuts? Thank, Amazon???

    they were charging $9.99 and giving publishers about $3.50, while keeping the lion’s share. A week before the iPad launched, they change to a 70-30 split. Publishers should be thanking Apple for keeping Amazon honest.

  9. “@B
    LOL, I thought the same thing.
    So I looked it up.
    Its is a word – an odd sounding word – but it is a word.”

    Normally in English, grammar is a total mess. But for adverbs, the rule is pretty simple. Add ly to make an adjective an adverb.

    So why does EMPTILY sound so weird?

    It’s kinda like ‘Drearily’… It’s an odd sounding adverb because not many adjectives end in ‘y’ …Usually adjectives ending in y aren’t real words

    eg. bluesy, moody, whiny, corny….. we just turn a noun into a fake adjective by adding a y.

    in that case, you could actually say, “my girlfriend whinily outlined her dwindling job prospects…” it sounds very very bad, so bad that you should just replace the VERB with something that includes the ‘whiny’.. um… like ‘whined’.

    wow, that was easy.

    EMPTY is not a made-up word. Its just a rare Adjective that ends in Y, so yea, replace the Y with I and add LY to make an adjective.

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