View Full Version : 'Only' 50000 Kindles to be sold in 1st year?


TadW
12-12-2007, 05:03 PM
James L. McQuivey of market researcher Forrester projects that - under best circumstances - Amazon will sell no more than 50'000 Kindle devices in its first year. 50'000? Is that bad? Sounds like a lot to me!

http://www.forrester.com/Research/Document/Excerpt/0,7211,44348,00.html

Unfortunately, only an excerpt of the analysis is available for free. If you are willing to pay the $279 for the full document, be my guest ;)

via Kindleville (http://kindleville.blogspot.com/2007/12/forrester-projects-50k-kindles-at-best.html)

Barcey
12-12-2007, 08:49 PM
Well it depends. If they mean 50,000 by the end of this month I think that's really good. :grin3: If they mean 50,000 by this time next year I would think they're hoping for more then that.

Ervserver
12-12-2007, 10:34 PM
I would say 50k would be on the high end, just because they are out of stock now doesn't mean they are selling like hotcakes, maybe they only had a few thousand to sell, and/or Amazon is wanting us to think they are selling like hotcakes

rflashman
12-12-2007, 11:08 PM
50,000 by the end of this year would be very good. 50,000 by end of 2008 would be a failure.

RWood
12-13-2007, 12:12 AM
Have Sony, iLiad, StarEbook, CyBook, Hanlin and the other e-ink readers sold 50,000 total units?

Alexander Turcic
12-13-2007, 01:19 AM
I think "in its first year" means within the first 12 months since the release. This would be until 11/19/08.

montsnmags
12-13-2007, 03:10 AM
I think "in its first year" means within the first 12 months since the release. This would be until 11/19/08.

Well, apparently Dymocks Australia obtained, with their grand announcement, a total of 30 Iliads into stock - this therefore seemingly Australia's sum-total of eink, ebook device supply available from all Australian retailers. If they all sell, I bet Amazon will regret their decision not to introduce the Kindle worlwide earlier when they only sell 49,970 in their first year.

Cheers,
Marc (C'mon, does that really need a winking emoticon? ;) )

HarryT
12-13-2007, 03:17 AM
It may well depend ultimately on what eInk's screen manufacturing capacity is. If they can only turn out 1000 screens a month, it doesn't matter what Amazon's sales targets are!

Liviu_5
12-13-2007, 12:17 PM
Personally I do not think Kindle will outsell the Sony by a wide figure at least in the current incarnation, so the figures will be in the same ballpark.

If as assumed Sony sold about 50k in the first year, the figure for the Kindle is quite reasonable. It may be 100k, may be 25k, but I think that will be the ballpark until things change dramatically.

Zoot
12-13-2007, 02:09 PM
Well, I think the Kindle will outsell the Sony devices by a large margin (it may already be close to doing so), as all e-ink readers are still exotic niche technology and most people don't yet have a clue as to what they are or even that they exist.

There's psychological phenomenon were if you ask someone how large a company and how many units of a product they sell, most people will estimate too high by a factor of ten or so.

50,000 units over the first year sounds like a fairly big number to me. That's around 4,000 units a month which is on the high side of what I would have guessed Amazon is selling even in its first month or two.

These numbers don't say much about whether the Kindle or any e-ink reader will be "successful" in the long run. If Amazon continues to promote the device, offers a continuous stream of software improvements and new titles for the existing device, and eventually comes out with new models, then the Kindle is much more likely to be a success than if they just sit back at this point and wait for people to beat a path to their door.

Book readers are the sort of new technology that you have to beat people over the head with for years before they finally go "oh, that's cool, is this new?".

Z.

Alisa
12-13-2007, 02:37 PM
Does anyone know how many units Sony has sold? I have no real data with which to form a good opinion but I've been interested in readers for quite a while and never heard any buzz about them anywhere but gadget blogs and here. I have another board I go to, mostly a women's community, not tech-centered at all, and folks there were talking about the Kindle. Several were sorely disappointed that it was sold out already. That makes me suspect that Amazon could outsell Sony pretty handily. They have better visibility it seems and I think people are more likely to trust the longevity of Amazon as a bookseller than Sony. Now if Sony and Borders could actually get moving on their partnership, we might have a real horserace.

jasonkchapman
12-13-2007, 02:55 PM
Does anyone know how many units Sony has sold?

This Boston Globe article (http://www.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2007/12/07/black_white_and_not_quite_ready_for_all_over/) quotes a Forrester person as saying the Sony can't have sold more than "a few tens of thousands". From the wording, it's obviously a guess, but it's a guess from someone who guesses for a living. *shrug*

tsgreer
12-13-2007, 02:59 PM
Does anyone know how many units Sony has sold? I have no real data with which to form a good opinion but I've been interested in readers for quite a while and never heard any buzz about them anywhere but gadget blogs and here. I have another board I go to, mostly a women's community, not tech-centered at all, and folks there were talking about the Kindle. Several were sorely disappointed that it was sold out already. That makes me suspect that Amazon could outsell Sony pretty handily. They have better visibility it seems and I think people are more likely to trust the longevity of Amazon as a bookseller than Sony. Now if Sony and Borders could actually get moving on their partnership, we might have a real horserace.

Same experience here. I have 5 people (total strangers) walk up to me when they saw me reading in a public place and ask "Hey is that the Amazon thingy?" Funny that they knew it was the Amazon device, but no one remembered the name Kindle. :)

So anyway, yeah, I think Amazon will sell more readers than sony. If they have the stock that is. My sony reader was a gadget to most people, but my Kindle is an ebook thingy. Of course, we know they are the same, but Joe Average doesn't.

I would mark it up to advertising and the Amazon name obviously. Never had anyone ask "is that the Sony Reader thingy?"

jasonkchapman
12-13-2007, 03:06 PM
I would mark it up to advertising and the Amazon name obviously. Never had anyone ask "is that the Sony Reader thingy?"

I wouldn't count on it, though. I've had several people ask me about the Sony who already knew about it. Also, for all the press that Amazon is getting, almost every single article includes at least a reference to the Sony and the fact that they recently released an updated model. Often, it even includes a comparison that notes Sony's lower price and sleeker design.

It's got to be annoying as heck to the Amazon marketing folks.

tsgreer
12-13-2007, 04:07 PM
I wouldn't count on it, though. I've had several people ask me about the Sony who already knew about it. Also, for all the press that Amazon is getting, almost every single article includes at least a reference to the Sony and the fact that they recently released an updated model. Often, it even includes a comparison that notes Sony's lower price and sleeker design.

It's got to be annoying as heck to the Amazon marketing folks.

Good point. Also, I'm in Colorado and I haven't seen a single advertisement for the Sony, but New York is probably much different.

Ervserver
12-13-2007, 04:23 PM
Sony must have sold enough of the 500 model to interest them into developing the 505


This Boston Globe article (http://www.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2007/12/07/black_white_and_not_quite_ready_for_all_over/) quotes a Forrester person as saying the Sony can't have sold more than "a few tens of thousands". From the wording, it's obviously a guess, but it's a guess from someone who guesses for a living. *shrug*

Alisa
12-13-2007, 04:35 PM
I'm in the SF Bay Area and I don't see ads for them, either. You'd think Sony was trying to keep them a secret. It was even hard to find the display in the Sony Style store.

Alexander Turcic
12-13-2007, 04:59 PM
Sony must have sold enough of the 500 model to interest them into developing the 505

Excellent point.

gregr209
12-13-2007, 05:24 PM
I'm in the SF Bay Area and I don't see ads for them, either. You'd think Sony was trying to keep them a secret. It was even hard to find the display in the Sony Style store.

Alisa,

I am in the bay area as well...I commute into SF 2 to 3 times a week. In Oct the bart stations were covered with ads for the Sony 505. They had replaced all of the usual iPod signs that cover all the poles and walls of bart. There was a big push when it came out.

When I bought my Sony Reader at the store in Meteron they did have it placed in a pretty good location and it was easy to find. Also the Borders stores in San Fran also have a big Sony Ereader display but when I some them they only had a sample 505 displayed.

So for a couple of months Sony did do a pretty good job of advertising at least in San Francisco in my opinion.

Greg

Alisa
12-13-2007, 05:25 PM
I'm in San Jose. No such push down here and they had the reader stuck in with the cameras at our Sony Style store. I guess they decided to make a better effort in SF. Maybe it's the fact that there are more commuters on public transit there.

TallMomof2
12-13-2007, 07:35 PM
In Sunday's Washington Post Sony had a circular (full color on slick paper) that featured the Reader on the front cover.

ElaHuguet
12-14-2007, 05:13 PM
Thing is, how many times do people stop by sony.com (unless they're looking to buy some electronic thingamajig), and how many people browse through amazon.com, where the first thing to hit your eyes is the Kindle ad? They don't need much else, and it's free publicity.

datrop
12-14-2007, 05:35 PM
I would say 50k would be on the high end, just because they are out of stock now doesn't mean they are selling like hotcakes, maybe they only had a few thousand to sell, and/or Amazon is wanting us to think they are selling like hotcakes

The reseller market on eBay might not be a bad indicator of Amazon's ability to get the Kindle out the door. I see 142 completed auctions (plus another 20 ongoing) since the evening of Nov. 29, which coincides with the first sightings posted here (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16587). While some of these should not be considered legitimate (e.g., "presale" or those ended prematurely and relisted), they do give an upper bound. (Invalid items anyway balance out the handful of multiple quantity auctions.)

Now, one just needs to guess reseller demand. Considering the price premium for a new in box Kindle, the Wii might be a good proxy. eBay shows about 60,000 Wiis sold (I'm low-balling their number of US-only Wiis of 61,556) for a two week period starting Nov 29; their search engine goes no further. For the month of Nov, there were 981,000 Wiis sold in the US (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aTnhEyskdX1I&refer=us). Of course, seasonality ruins any sort of linear approximation for a 2 week slice of that month of sales. However, it's reasonable to lower-bound things by assuming that those 60,000 Wiis came entirely from last month's sales of 981,000 => at least 6% of units go to the reseller market.

Taking all this into consideration, 162 Kindle auctions might suggest 2700-5400 (6% and 3% units going to resale) Kindles out in the wild since its release 3 weeks ago. With the Kindle eBaying for a 50-100% premium, I have a feeling that the 3-6% range might be a little low...

Ervserver
12-14-2007, 05:41 PM
Along with the Kindle on Amazon's website is the graph showing all the negative reviews. Granted many of the negatives are from people who don't even own a Kindle but....you know how lazy people can be. Will they take the time to sort thru all the reviews or not.

Thing is, how many times do people stop by sony.com (unless they're looking to buy some electronic thingamajig), and how many people browse through amazon.com, where the first thing to hit your eyes is the Kindle ad? They don't need much else, and it's free publicity.

igorsk
12-14-2007, 06:47 PM
Also there's a little problem of Kindle being out of stock.

silvania
12-14-2007, 06:53 PM
Well it depends. If they mean 50,000 by the end of this month I think that's really good. :grin3: If they mean 50,000 by this time next year I would think they're hoping for more then that.

They mean 50,000 in the first 12 months. My own analysis is that this is an underestimate. I expect 100,000 in the first 12 months.

Analysts come to these conclusions mainly by talking to insiders who spill information to them, or they comb public but obscure sources. For example, it is possible to know almost exactly how many Sony's were sold in the first quarter after they launched, because the company who sold them the displays leaked out that sony bought 10,000 screens in the august before their launch. So that's the most they could have sold until the next order several months later.

My sources indicate Sony has sold between 20,000 and 50,000 of their readers since they launched. This is not enough for sony to continue the project long term. They had far higher volume than that in their online music venture and yet they shut that down this year.

Sony is likely benefitting from the enormous error made by Amazon in not having sufficient units on hand for christmas. That will keep them alive for one more year. But once Amazon gets their act together Sony has to be toast in this market. Amazon just has too muich marketing might.

A few months ago I would have said Sony is gone in 12 to 18 months, but the surge of sales they are no doubt seeing now will probably extend that to 18 to 24 months. They will wait to see if amazon builds a market for them. Amazon will indeed build a market, but not for Sony.

All bets are off if the USA falls into recession in 2008. In that case Sony could trim the project earlier as a cost cutting measure. There is approximately a 50% chance of recession in the USA in 2008.

Liviu_5
12-14-2007, 10:59 PM
They mean 50,000 in the first 12 months. My own analysis is that this is an underestimate. I expect 100,000 in the first 12 months.



Possible but still a drop in a bucket. See how many iPhones, iTouches and Wii's for example have been sold when we talk about reading devices going mainstream

Ervserver
12-15-2007, 12:41 AM
I think there will be screen shortages

AintLDS
12-15-2007, 11:33 AM
Amazon's 4th quarter conference call is at the end of January. They should annouce how many Kindles they sold.

Alisa
12-15-2007, 02:07 PM
Sony is likely benefitting from the enormous error made by Amazon in not having sufficient units on hand for christmas. That will keep them alive for one more year. But once Amazon gets their act together Sony has to be toast in this market. Amazon just has too muich marketing might.

Possibly they're picking up some but I don't think it will be a lot. If people realize that they can't buy Amazon books and read them on the Sony (let alone have them automatically delivered) I think they're more likely to wait. It's not just about having A reader. It's about THIS reader.

Ervserver
12-15-2007, 02:16 PM
Don't get confused by looking at Amazon's website and seeing the words "Due to heavy demand Kindles are sold out" Heavy demand could be 300 people or 30,000 people. I say Sony will add wireless capabilities and drop the prices to $250. The Kindle will dwindle in 2008

......Sony is likely benefitting from the enormous error made by Amazon in not having sufficient units on hand for christmas. That will keep them alive for one more year. But once Amazon gets their act together Sony has to be toast in this market. Amazon just has too much marketing might.

Alisa
12-15-2007, 02:21 PM
Don't get confused by looking at Amazon's website and seeing the words "Due to heavy demand Kindles are sold out" Heavy demand could be 300 people or 30,000 people. I say Sony will add wireless capabilities and drop the prices to $250. The Kindle will dwindle in 2008

Well that would certainly make things interesting! I wonder how long they'd be willing to absorb those costs. What I really want to know is how much they're paying for their best-sellers and new releases compared to Amazon. If it's on a par they might actually be able to compete. I'm more concerned for our Sony Reader owners that they'll decide to get out of the market.

Ervserver
12-15-2007, 02:24 PM
Amazon's roots is selling books, they should make their Kindle books available to all readers. Can make more money selling books than selling readers

Alisa
12-15-2007, 07:14 PM
I agree. Letting other devices use the format seems like it would be profitable. After all, the device, expensive as it is, probably has a very low profit margin. Maybe they're concerned that people will choose one of the other devices because they're cheaper and then not be lured into the subscription content which, while cheaper than books, is probably a very high profit margin for them.

wallcraft
12-15-2007, 08:49 PM
Profit margins on the Kindle must be huge. The hardware can't cost much more than the PRS-505 and Amazon is selling direct.

We won't really know what Amazon will do with AZW until they start selling outside the US. My guess is that a non-US Kindle won't be able to buy US AZW's and a US Kindle won't be able to buy non-US AZW's. However, at that point Amazon may let both read secure MOBI, since MobiPocket seems to have worldwide rights to its titles.

Alisa
12-15-2007, 09:23 PM
Profit margins on the Kindle must be huge. The hardware can't cost much more than the PRS-505 and Amazon is selling direct.

We won't really know what Amazon will do with AZW until they start selling outside the US. My guess is that a non-US Kindle won't be able to buy US AZW's and a US Kindle won't be able to buy non-US AZW's. However, at that point Amazon may let both read secure MOBI, since MobiPocket seems to have worldwide rights to its titles.

For all we know, Sony could be selling the hardware at a loss. Plus there are 3 years of R&D on the Kindle to recoup. Most of that I expect was in the store and Whispernet, though.

I think it would be great if they supported Mobi. The think I wonder about is whether the use of AZW which is different in name only is because of their agreements with other Mobi sellers. I seem to recall reading here that the reason that Mobipocket.com's prices were always higher was that they had an agreement not to undercut other Mobi sellers. If Amazon is bound by that, it may explain why they did AZW.

Ervserver
12-16-2007, 12:46 AM
for all we know the Kindle and the Sony could be made in the same plant

brecklundin
12-17-2007, 02:56 AM
Now, one just needs to guess reseller demand. Considering the price premium for a new in box Kindle, the Wii might be a good proxy. eBay shows about 60,000 Wiis sold (I'm low-balling their number of US-only Wiis of 61,556) for a two week period starting Nov 29; their search engine goes no further. For the month of Nov, there were 981,000 Wiis sold in the US (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aTnhEyskdX1I&refer=us). Of course, seasonality ruins any sort of linear approximation for a 2 week slice of that month of sales. However, it's reasonable to lower-bound things by assuming that those 60,000 Wiis came entirely from last month's sales of 981,000 => at least 6% of units go to the reseller market.

Well, unless you have access to different search tools then exist on the eBay site or the eBay API you can only find the total number of live or completed listings not the total number of SOLD items. Sold item totals numbers are considered internally confidential and by eBay.

Just thought I would point this out.

Here is a site that has developed some tools to determine the numbers of sold items. It's sorta-kinda pretty cool. Here are the numbers for the Kindle over the past 30-days:

http://data.terapeak.com/?query=kindle%20+amazon&siteID=0&id=0&date_range=ThirtyDays&date=2007-12-12&

brecklundin
12-17-2007, 03:00 AM
btw, you need to search on more the simply Kindle...or you get other items with kindle in the auction title...I would do title-only searches using kindle +amazon. If ya do title +description you can pick up listings that will have either of the words in the description thus again skewing the results.

datrop
12-17-2007, 12:15 PM
btw, you need to search on more the simply Kindle...or you get other items with kindle in the auction title...I would do title-only searches using kindle +amazon. If ya do title +description you can pick up listings that will have either of the words in the description thus again skewing the results.

All good points (I was doing title searches for "amazon kindle")--overshooting by a little (couple of amazon kindle coupons, book covers, but largely the $400+ device itself) still gives an upper-bound, which indicates that the Kindle is not quite in iphone-like sales territory in its first month. Most everyone probably guessed as much, anyway.