Reading between the lines
Despite increasing demand for tablets, it is believed that Amazon will shift some 8 million Kindle e-readers this year, far exceeding analysts' predictions.
For some unknown reason given the Kindle's popularity, Amazon has not disclosed just how successful its e-reader has been but Business Week said 2 people who know about Kindle sales figures told them that Amazon is likely to sell over 8 million Kindles this year, over 60 percent more than analysts predicted.
Bloomberg reportedly surveyed a bunch of analysts who on average predicted sales of 5 million Kindles in 2010. Business Week reported that its source revealed the e-tailer shifted around 2.4 million Kindles in 2009.
If accurate, these figures suggest phenomenal growth in the e-reader market despite the emergence of tablets, which at one point were predicted to damage e-reader sales.
In terms of market share, Amazon is thought to be gaining share rapidly against its key rivals Sony and Barnes & Noble, reportedly outpacing analysts' estimates once more.
The e-tailer launched its e-reader in 2007 to fuel demand for its digital book store and edge its way into the hardware business, but has so far not disclosed how successful the risk has been, or reportedly confirmed these new figures rumours.
However, hinting at continued growth, Amazon did say back in October that the sales of the new version of the Kindle, which was launched in July, has eclipsed the sales of the older model in Q4 of 2009.
The company now has 3 Kindle flavours, including the £109 Kindle with Wi-Fi and £149 model with 3G, which both sold out before Christmas (but are now back in stock for post-Christmas delivery).
Buoyed by the Kindle's success, Amazon shareholders have had a fruitful year, with shares reportedly gaining 37 percent in the past 12 months.