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It’s true that the iPad has been a smash hit, selling 3.3 million units in just a few months. But Amazon claims its plucky little Kindle is doing pretty well, too. Amazon won’t give out sales figures, but Forrester Research, a market-analysis firm, reckons Amazon will sell 3.5 million Kindles in the United States this year, bringing its total number in U.S. readers’ hands to 6 million by the end of 2010.
Amazon claims Kindle sales have actually gone up since the iPad came out, partly because Amazon slashed the price of the device from $259 to $189. That price cut caused the growth rate of Kindle sales to triple. “I think what people are seeing is that we are focused on building an uncompromised reading experience, and customers love that,” says Steven Kessel, who helps run the Kindle business at Amazon.
Kessel says people have realized that the iPad might be good for a lot of things, but isn’t really the best device for sustained reading over several hours. It’s too heavy, for one thing—about a pound and a half compared with 10 ounces for the Kindle, which can be held in one hand, like a paperback. As Kessel puts it, in a bit of an understatement, “The Kindle and the iPad are very different products.”
Weston Kosova writes:
There is a lot of buzz that Barnes & Noble will release its anticipated e-reading device tomorrow. If the usual rumor sites are to be believed, it will have an e-ink screen, like Amazon’s Kindle, and it will have built-in wireless so you can buy books over the air, like the Kindle. It may do the Kindle one better with a touchscreen, and possibly Wi-Fi, and maybe some limited way of sharing books with other e-readers.
Maybe it will be better than the Kindle. Maybe it will be pretty much the same. Gizmodo posted some photos of the thing this week. It looks just fine. There is the customary hype over the device─you know, whether it’s a “Kindle killer,” etc.
But the truth is, as long as it isn’t a complete disaster, it doesn’t really matter. Barnes & Noble is clearly out to get Amazon, but it’s also clearly not counting on this device alone to do it. Instead, while the Kindle, and the Kindle 2, and the Kindle DX have been getting all the attention, B&N has been quietly sneaking up to steal Amazon’s lunch.