Amazon says Kindle sales double 2011 level, but where are hard numbers?

Amazon’s Kindle Fire is the Rodney Dangerfield of tablets: it gets no respect. Again, Tuesday, the online retail giant reinforced that image by announcing Thanksgiving Weekend sales of the Kindle were “more than double” those in 2011 – but released no hard numbers.

Just how many Kindles – such as the $129 Kindle Fire Amazon pushed during Cyber Monday – were sold this year versus last year? Dunno. We have plenty of commercial spin, however. This year’s Cyber Monday was the “biggest day ever” for global Kindle sales. The Kindle Fire HD “is the most gifted and most wished for” Amazon product worldwide, according to the company…

“Cyber Monday was the biggest day ever for Kindle sales, and we’re looking forward to millions of customers opening new Kindles this holiday season”, said Dave Limp, Vice President for Amazon’s Kindle, in a media release today.

The generalities are enough to make your teeth ache.

Who is Amazon trying to convince?

Not Walmart, which recently yanked the Kindle.

Not Target, which dumped the Kindle even earlier.


Perhaps it’s the kids – no, wait, they put the Kindle below the iPad, in a recent survey of their wish lists.

TechCrunch calls Amazon’s announcement “frustrating”.

Author Ingrid Lunded weighs in:

One one hand it appears to point to obvious popularity for the Kindle devices – and how effective the combined machine of online marketplace+products can be – it doesn’t give enough clarity on how something like the Kindle Fire is performing.

The blog makes a great point about the Kindle being an online marketplace.

Jim Dalrymple of The Loop writes:

How many exactly did they sell? Amazon won’t say. Could be they sold 10 Kindles between the two days, nobody knows for sure. Just more bullshit from Amazon.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently made the same point, telling reporters he considers the Kindle a pipeline through which his company can sell books, ebooks, music and more. In a rare comment that included facts, Bezos told a UK interviewer the Kindle is sold at-cost.

“So it is break-even on the hardware”, he told the BBC in October.

Bezos could be considered the Silicon Valley version of Carl Sagan, the astronomer infamous for the phrase “billions and billions”. The Amazon CEO often used “millions and millions” to describe Kindle sales.

But as we’ve noted, Bezos’ Amazon is also eerily like Apple. Moreover, the company’s marketing department doesn’t shy away from firing subtle pot shots at Apple’s direction, as evident in the anti-iPad homepage ad it pulled shortly after.

Last year’s Kindle ad, seen below, is another example of subtle anti-Apple advertising.

Like Apple’s iDevices, the family of Kindles are not seen as products sold in isolation, but part of a broader content-delivery system. The iPhone is connected to the App Store, which also connects to iTunes, which connects to Macs, which uses iCloud, which, well, you get the idea.

So, how many Kindles are sold is not as important as how many books, songs, apps were sold by the Kindle.

Does it honestly matter if Amazon never publicly reveals how many Kindles are sold?