Monday Amazon.com reported that its Kindle electronic book reader posted its best sales yet in the month of November.
The online retailer said shoppers were buying several Kindles at once as holiday gifts, while businesses and organizations were buying the device "in large quantities" for employees or clients. Amazon does not provide precise data on Kindle sales.
Amazon's statement on Kindle's success this holiday season follows notices by Barnes & Noble and Sony Corp to their customers that they had sold out of their e-readers before the start of the holiday shopping season due to high demand.
While the higher-than-expected demand proves consumer interest in the device, Barnes & Noble and Sony also appear to have lost an opportunity to gain share against Amazon's market-leading Kindle device, Reuters reports.
Meanwhile, the news comes as Kindle’s competition struggles to get devices into consumers’ hands in time for Christmas. Barnes & Noble said Sunday that its Nook reader won’t be available in stores until Dec. 7, and noted earlier that only customers who ordered one before Nov. 20 would receive it for the holidays. Sony said two weeks ago that it would ship its Reader from Dec. 18 to Jan. 8 but couldn’t guarantee the delivery date.
As many have noted, those delays are good news for Amazon. The company, however, is notoriously cagey about Kindle sales, with executives typically saying they’re pleased with the device’s performance and growth prospects — nothing more.
“Anyone who wants a Kindle and doesn’t normally shop at Amazon has to make an exception. Anyone who wants a Kindle and doesn’t normally shop online has to make an exception,” Gizmodo’s John Herrman wrote, The Wall Street Journal reports.
A newcomer to the market, Barnes & Noble's Nook, could prove a particularly strong rival.
News agencies also report, released last month, the Nook appears to be doing well. According to Barnes & Noble's Web site, the e-reader is sold out, and people pre-ordering a Nook today will have to wait until after the holidays to receive the device. Shipments are scheduled to resume Jan. 11.
Nevertheless, the Kindle is the product to beat. Forrester Research ranks Amazon as the top seller in the e-reader market, with Sony's Reader a distant second. However, the market is very young and competitors could increase share in the future.
E-readers have proven popular among business travelers and avid readers. Forrester predicts sales this year will reach 3 million units, with 30% of the purchases occurring during the holiday season. E-reader sales next year could exceed 6 million units, according to Forrester, InformationWeek reports.