Reading Amazon press releases about their Kindle e-reader reminds one of the Cold War days when Soviet analysts interpreted the meaning of which leader were present during Red Square parades or diplomats fired off long missives about a cryptic statement from Chinese leaders. The Seattle-based Internet bookseller is no different when it trumpets its e-reader.
“Kindle is the best-selling product on Amazon.com for two years running and our new generation Kindles are continuing that momentum,” Amazon Kindle senior vice president Steve Kessel said in a Wednesday announcement. Lacking, however, were specific sales figures.
The company, however, plows on with generalities, like the Kindle and Kindle 3G being “the most gifted and wished for products on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk combined.” Or that “customers in 125 countries on six continents from Australia to Zimbabwe have already placed orders for the new generation Kindles.”
It’s been nearly a year since Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos let slip that the company had sold “millions” of Kindles, a remark some interpreted as meaning 3 million of the single-purpose e-readers. Since that time, the Kindle has had to compete with the Barnes & Noble Nook, a unit one analyst judged earlier this year to have 53 percent of the U.S. market.
For Apple’s part, it announced 1 million iPads were sold in the first month of being available. How many e-books is Amazon selling for the Kindle? Again, there are no hard numbers.
Amazon said Wednesday the Kindle Store has more than 670,000 books – 235,000 added in the last seven months. Of that 670,000, 550,000 are priced at $9.99 or less.
As for sales, Apple CEO Steve Jobs claimed in June 5 million e-books were downloaded for the iPad since the tablet’s introduction. But according to one author, Kindle e-books are outselling Apple’s iBooks by around 60-to-1.
But until Amazon releases sales figures that can be compared with Apple’s, onlookers will be left to piece together a puzzle of second-hand and third-hand reports.