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Kindle Outsells Every Other Product on Amazon (And What That Really Means)

According to a breathless press release, the Kindle ereader is the "#1 bestselling product across all product categories on Amazon." That means it sold more than the iPod Touch. More than the Wii. More than Going Rogue. How? It's easy!

Step 1: Market a device for two whole years
Step 2: Issue a price drop a few months before the holiday season
Step 3: Remain the exclusive retailer for said device
Step 4: Profit! (To an extent that is completely and intentionally unclear to everyone!)

When Amazon tells you that the Kindle is the highest-selling product on Amazon, you're supposed to think of it as you'd think of anything else: as a strong, reliable metric in gauging how well a product is doing in general. The thing is, there is no "in general" for the Kindle. There is only Amazon. 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. The Kindle didn't outsell the iPod Touchâ€"not even close.

It's worth noting that, as always with the Kindle, Amazon is not giving us any sales numbers to look at. They've consistently claimed this is to protect competitive interests, which led journalists, and the public, the consistently believe that the figure must be kind of embarrassing. But with this exceedingly proud announcement, Amazon has revealed at least part of their reasoning: good PR. To proclaim that the Kindle has outsold every other product in the world (on Amazon!) makes it sound like the device is, at the very least, not a failure. Which it probably isn't! But let's look at what we really, honestly know: The Kindle outsold every other products in its parent company's online store, which has an exclusive on the device. We have no idea how many units are sold, nor do we have any idea how many Amazon expected to sell, or how many they'd need to sell for Kindle to be considered successful. We know that sales have gone up during a heavy shopping period, but that's about it. It's a closed system.

In other words, we know nothing new. Well, except that a certain other book store with a noticeably similar strategy and much hotter hardware is just about to show up piss-drunk at the Kindle's Christmas party, to try to steal its girlfriend. [Press Release]

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Gizmodo is the world's most fun technology website, focused on gadgets and how they make our lives better, worse and more absurd. Source: Kindle Outsells Every Other Product On Amazon (And What That Really Means)

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  • Corvida Raven

    I would agree with holding off on an early projection. I've been holding off on getting a Kindle because Barnes and Noble's Nook looks fantastic. So does Sony's eReader. I'm holding off on placing a bid because things are just starting to get interesting.

  • Richard Geller

    It's great that the Kindle is selling well because it demonstrates marketplace viability. That said, the development of eReader platforms & eBook formats is a marathon not a sprint. It's way to soon to project winners and losers; we're just getting started. Certainly, we should expect Amazon to be one of the big players.
    Good stuff!
    Richard Geller

  • Isaac Fischer

    wow, i never tire of these amazon-bashing articles :). for year, i've listened to how the company is doomed etc. it never fails to amuse. it must be a very tough pill to swallow to have counseled people this whole time that amazon is a disaster and whatever you do, don't buy amazon stock. that would be a very tough pill to swallow. keep printing articles like this so those of us that did buy amazon can have a good laugh. i do feel a little sorry for anyone that listens to your advice :)