Blog Post

Haven’t Ordered Your Holiday Kindle Yet? Never Mind

image*Amazon* is promoting the heck out of its Kindle digital reader on its front page and across the e-commerce site but won’t be shipping any until well into Q109. The current wait time: 11-13 weeks. Dan Frommer confirmed with the company that it has sold out of the devices. There’s also this note on the site: “Due to heavy customer demand, Kindle is sold out. Please ORDER KINDLE NOW to reserve your place in line. We prioritize orders on a first come, first served basis. This item will arrive after December 24.” Dan’s take: anyone placing an order now will be getting Kindle 2.0, the updated reader the company said was possible “sometime next year at the earliest.” Or Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) could be having the same supply problems it ran into early on.

One possibility: Oprah’s recent endorsement and the accompanying $50 discount offer sold off existing supplies faster than Amazon had forecast. Analysts were predicting a big holiday season for Kindle this year; it may be that Christmas came early this year and that Amazon met those sale predictions but simply won’t be able to go much further. Another: the lure of Kindle 2.0 will keep sales revved up and a failure to deliver that version will result in a slew of cancellations.

Kindle library: Meanwhile, the only gauge of Kindle’s growth usually offered by Amazon — the size of its library — has topped 190,000, more than double the 90,000 at launch last November. When I interviewed Amazon chairman and CEO Jeff Bezos in May, the number of titles stood at 125,000. (Rafat and I each use Kindles so tend to notice the library expansion — and limits.)

Photo Credit: dailylifeofmojo

2 Responses to “Haven’t Ordered Your Holiday Kindle Yet? Never Mind”

  1. Other than possibly the placement of the wireless switch and the rumored USB recharging, the "new" design is a major step backwards. Too much plastic surround, less convenient to use keyboard (can't be run with thumbs as easily), the entire thing is bigger than the current one – so, larger than a paperback, won't fit into a purse easily, etc – plus supposedly has a non-replaceable battery and no SD card slot (both design shortcomings of the Sony). If anything, it looks like an early mockup design submitted and rejected before the current Kindle came out. Other than rumored updates to the software (all of which can be done to the existing system, via instant update when you turn it on), there is nothing of interest to anyone with a current Kindle that would prompt an upgrade and nothing that should be a reason for someone who has a Kindle on order to be upset if they received the "old" version (especially as that is what they are ordering). I'd be more upset if I received this more limited and larger to carry and hold version instead of the version that is currently on the web site — especially if I had seen and played with one that someone already has. Upset enough to return it as a result? Probably.

    The rumored design actually looks like a Sony mockup that will add 10bT wireless (hopefully) and a keyboard, as all the other features are ones they pretty much already have, including the large/flat design (but not the white plastic). For Sony, this would be an evolution in design and an improvement in features – but not for the Amazon Kindle, where it is a major step backwards (of course, maybe if it sold for under $100, you could ignore it's shortcomings).

  2. Sarah Varney

    I hate to sound like a booster, but this is good news. My one frustration–okay, maybe two–with the Kindle is the download selection from Amazon. It's often not as current as I'd like. Can you say new PD James novel? Other than that, the space savings, the tree savings and the money savings make the Kindle great. I'm thrilled to see that it's gaining traction. Now if I could only trade it in for the new model–one that has the on/off/Wifi switch in a convenient location–my other frustration.