In recent months, Amazon
has issued one press
release after another to talk up the success of its Kindle ebook reader
. The hype
surrounding Kindle's success has helped to propel Amazon's share price upward,
but some are wondering how long Amazon can continue to make headlines before it
releases actual numbers to back up its claims.
On December 26, Amazon claimed the Kindle
was the most
purchased gift in its history and that sales of electronic books from its store
surpassed physical book sales on Christmas day. Half-way through December, the
retailer said the Kindle had enjoyed its best monthly sales ever in that month.
While both of these claims certainly sound impressive, Amazon never provided
hard-core numbers to back up the claims. An Amazon spokeswoman explained,
saying Amazon does not disclose unit sales as a matter of company policy.
Company policy or not, we have to think investors will
eventually want some concrete numbers to back up these claims. As more and more
ebook readers enter the market in 2010, Amazon's claims could be put to the
test, and investors will likely want to know exactly how Kindle sales compare
to the sales of other ebook readers on the market.
Forrester estimates the Kindle has a market share of about
55% in the U.S., ahead of devices from Sony and Barnes & Noble
Based on consumer surveys, Forrester says 2.5 million Kindles have been sold to
Legally, Amazon is not required to disclose sales figures on
the Kindle until the reader accounts for a material portion of its business. Analysts
currently estimate that the Kindle will account for less than 2% of Amazon's expected
$8.9 billion in sales for the current holiday quarter.