The Amazon Kindle has proven to be a very popular product for Amazon.com and is one of the online giants top selling gadgets. The eBook reader made big waves in the market and quickly became more desired than established eReaders on the market from companies like Sony.
The big draw to the Kindle was the massive Amazon eBook store and the fact that the device ships with AT&T 3G internet connectivity for free allowing the user to download books from practically anywhere. Since the launch of the original Kindle, which was followed by the Kindle 2 and the Kindle DX, the devices have only been available in America.
Amazon announced today that it was now offering the Kindle 2 to consumers around the world. For Kindle fans in the U.S., the launch of the device internationally means a price cut at home. Amazon cut the price of the Kindle to $259 after dropping the price for the eReader in July to $299. Abroad the Kindle 2 will sell for the equivalent of $279.
Reuters reports that Amazon sees the Kindle as a huge growth driver for the company and the device now has over 200,000 books available for download.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told Reuters, “Our vision for Kindle is every book ever printed, in print or out of print, in every language, all available within 60 seconds.” He added, “That’s a multi-decade vision.”
When asked if Amazon might eventually turn the Kindle into a device more like a tablet computer with a touch screen and the ability to surf the net and send/receive mail, Bezos reiterated that Amazon rejects compromise in the Kindle. The company doesn’t want tech that will affect the core reading capability of the device by reducing readability or using too much power.
Amazon is making strides to bring its digital bookstore to devices other than the Kindle and has offered an app for the iPhone/iPod touch that allows users to read books from its bookstores. Bezos said, “We want you to read your Kindle books on laptops and smartphones, anything with an installed base.” Bezos also said that Amazon was in principal not against offering its bookstore on competing devices like the ones from Sony, but it would only offer the store to devices with a large install base.
Amazon is expecting a lot from the Kindle over the holiday season and analysts are expecting big sales from the eReader market in general. Forrester Research estimates that 3 million eReaders will be sold in the U.S. in 2009; earlier estimates pegged the number at 2 million. By the end of 2010, eReaders are expected to have cumulative sales of about 10 million units.
Amazon doesn’t provide numbers for sales of its Kindle, but analysts predict that the device has about 60% of the eReader market and that the device may make up as much as 8.4% of Amazon’s total revenue. That would put sales of the Kindle at about $420 million with gross profits of $35 million.
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