The recently upgraded third generation Kindle readers is flying off Amazon’s shelves at the moment. An upgrade – which includes a new display with 50% better contrast, lighter and smaller casing, quicker page turns and double the memory capacity – accompanied by a reduction in price and the introduction of an entry level Wi-Fi only model, has seen demand for the Kindle reader soar.
At the moment, the third generation Kindles are sold out and potential customers face a wait of three to four weeks before any new ones start shipping. Kindle books are now regularly outselling conventional hardback books. It seems to be just a matter of time before e-book sales will higher than even paperback sales.
Amazon has also launched a dedicated UK Kindle store so that UK customers don’t require to have their readers shipped across the Atlantic and can pay for their Kindle purchases in their local currency. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to assume that similar “local” Kindle stores will be opened for other Amazon international websites such as France, Japan, Germany etc. in the relatively near future.
In short, everything in the garden is pretty rosy for Amazon right now. Reports of the Kindle’s demise at the hands of Apple’s iPad seem to be premature and largely inaccurate. Amazon’s policy of releasing free “apps” to allow Kindle books to be read on a variety of different devices looks to be paying dividends. So, considering what a massive success they have enjoyed with their first manufactured product, it’s hardly surprising that Amazon is rumored to be considering developing prototypes for personal tech gadgets other than the Kindle in their Lab 126 research facility.
Whilst Amazon has remained silent on the subject, speculation that they may be thinking about music/movie players and possibly some kind of mobile phone is rife. However, industry watchers suggest that, if Amazon wanted to enter the market with another gadget, then they would need to ensure that they add value rather than simply releasing another piece of personal electronic tech onto the market.
A great deal of the success of the Kindle reader must be attributed to Amazon’s strong link with books and reading in general. The huge number of Kindle books on offer – over 630,000 and growing daily – and the fact that these can be read on so many other devices has been a big selling point. Any new gadget that Amazon decided to launch would probably need some similar type of support in order to achieve anything approaching the level of success enjoyed by the Kindle.