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Old 02-03-2009, 10:27 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Amazon sold half a million Kindles in 2008, says analyst

Little is known of just how many Kindle devices Amazon has sold so far, but at least one of those ever-insightful analysts, Mark Mahaney of Citigroup, predicts that the number is huge. So huge, in fact, that he has upped his initial estimate for 2008 from 380,000 units to now 500,000. Think that's a lot? It would have been more - 750,000 - had Amazon not run out of Kindles before Christmas. Apparently, to support his guesswork, Mr. Mahaney used some disclosed figures from a Spring filing that referred to wholesale partners using the Sprint network.

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Mahaney now thinks Amazon's all-in Kindle revenue could reach $1.4 billion in 2010, or an impressive 4% of Amazon's revenue that year. This assumes that Amazon will sell 1 million Kindles in 2009 and 3.5 million in 2010; that Kindle owners buy one book per month, etc. It's an admittedly rough estimate, but not necessarily an unbelievable one.

Just as important: Mahaney thinks Amazon could get relatively similar profits for each e-book sold that it currently gets for physical books.
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:30 AM   #2
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I wonder how many sales they actually lost because of the backorder ordeal, where people just gave up and went to another device. Not to mention ebay, but they would get the reoccurring revenue from those at a minimum.
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:34 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by lilac_jive View Post
Not to mention ebay, but they would get the reoccurring revenue from those at a minimum.
Well, people had to buy a Kindle to sell it on eBay. So, I think that would be a wash.

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Old 02-03-2009, 10:35 AM   #4
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Interesting. If anywhere close to true it certainly supports the idea that next week we WILL see the 2.0.
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:42 AM   #5
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Well, people had to buy a Kindle to sell it on eBay. So, I think that would be a wash.

BOb
Not really though. If you think about it, people might have been unloading them because they were out of stock and could make a profit on them.
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:43 AM   #6
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Not really though. If you think about it, people might have been unloading them because they were out of stock and could make a profit on them.
Right, but my point is, that doesn't mean less Kindles have been sold. If someone bought a Kindle whether they buy it from Amazon or on eBay from someone else that bought on Amazon... either way that counts as 1 Kindle sold.

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Old 02-03-2009, 11:24 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by pilotbob View Post
Right, but my point is, that doesn't mean less Kindles have been sold. If someone bought a Kindle whether they buy it from Amazon or on eBay from someone else that bought on Amazon... either way that counts as 1 Kindle sold.

BOb
True. Good point.
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Old 02-03-2009, 12:42 PM   #8
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Unless I'm misreading Lilac's post, I think I understand her larger point. If people had been able to buy from Amazon instead of resorting to Ebay then more Kindle's would have been on the market. The seller on Ebay would have a device and the buyer from Amazon (who now didn't have to go to Ebay) would have a device.
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Old 02-03-2009, 12:46 PM   #9
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Also, Amazon is making a huge mistake in under-estimating demand. Every time they lose a sale because of not having stock risks someone buying a competitors product, and this loses not only the profit from the e-reader but also loses all that profit from reoccurring ebook sales.
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:00 PM   #10
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My guess is Sony is the one making out for the lost Kindle sales.
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daithi View Post
Also, Amazon is making a huge mistake in under-estimating demand. Every time they lose a sale because of not having stock risks someone buying a competitors product, and this loses not only the profit from the e-reader but also loses all that profit from reoccurring ebook sales.
I doubt they've underestimated demand. Recognizing demand doesn't mean you can always increase production to meet it. This is particularly true when you don't have multiple sources you can turn to for parts. The screens and controllers are speciality items.
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:05 PM   #12
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It would be interesting to know what the cause of the Kindle order "backlog" actually is. The obvious thought is that it's the screens, but that is contra-indicated by the fact that there's no shortage of the other eInk devices which use the same screen. Last spring, when there definitely was a screen shortage, all the devices was back-ordered. That hasn't happened this time.
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:05 PM   #13
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My guess is Sony is the one making out for the lost Kindle sales.
I'm sure some do turn to Sony, certainly much more than go to the less visible products like the Cybook and various HanLin versions. However I think most people are willing to wait because they want to be able to buy books through Amazon. The biggest influx of new Kindle buyers came from Oprah and I doubt they're switching to the Sony.
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daithi View Post
Also, Amazon is making a huge mistake in under-estimating demand. Every time they lose a sale because of not having stock risks someone buying a competitors product, and this loses not only the profit from the e-reader but also loses all that profit from reoccurring ebook sales.
I don't really think Amazon is to blame on that... (Actually, not really anyones -fault-)... I think it is down to the eInk production limitations. And most likely the production is already expanding as quickly as it can, I think we see a constant increase in numbers from the big players (like Amazon and Sony) not to mention new players every other month.

It's not as if eInk can just decide to buy facilities to manufacture an unlimited stock in any given time. If you look at game consoles as a comparison, even they fail in these regards. Even with capitol exceeding eInk's by several orders of magnitude. And that is a much more predictable market then ebook devices.

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Old 02-03-2009, 01:06 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
It would be interesting to know what the cause of the Kindle order "backlog" actually is. The obvious thought is that it's the screens, but that is contra-indicated by the fact that there's no shortage of the other eInk devices which use the same screen. Last spring, when there definitely was a screen shortage, all the devices was back-ordered. That hasn't happened this time.
The other devices may have more existing stock.
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