Never’s a Long Time: Amazon May Not Release Full Kindle Sales Data, Ever, For Competitive Reasons


imageTo quote Carol Bartz, the CEO of *Yahoo*, “never’s a long time”. But that’s what Jeff Bezos promised today at Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting, when asked about Kindle sales data: “I’m not sure we will ever reveal all the numbers…Our point of view is that there is a competitive advantage to keeping the numbers close,” he said, quoted here on Marketwatch.

To continue with the tease, he said he checks Kindle sales data daily, and “the data we have shows us that this is turning into something special. So I beg your indulgence on the question of how many Kindles have been sold.” Thus giving tons of fodder, speculation and quarterbacking to analysts and bloggers about the real impact of Kindle on the book industry, and the company’s bottom line.

What Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) has officially said till now is that where a Kindle version of a book is available on its site, it makes up for almost 35 percent of total sales of that book, a figure which astounded a lot of industry observers when it came out earlier this month at the launch of Kindle DX. That, and oh, this illuminating factoid, from Bezo’s annual report letter to shareholders: “We



Yes, well, okay Jeff. But it has always seemed to me that another more compelling reason to hold the "fantastic" kindle sales number back is that they are not as fantastic as people think.


The newspaper industry should stop complaining about Google and focus on Amazon. Amazon is starving newspapers & publishers of valuable customer information, playing "bad-partner" in terms of negotiating leverage for revenue share & pricing and will ultimately be out maneuvered by consumers finding less expensive alternatives to content or newer, shinier devices. Amazon should learn the lesson of the open web.

ps: the iPhone & Blackberry apps for the major national papers provide free access, give the content originators customer information and monetization moments. ditch the kindle subscriptions for the iPhone…really save yourself the $14.99/month.

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