The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is in short supply everywhere in the USA. Ever since mid-December, all major retailers have had very limited inventory and are constantly fielding phone calls from very angry customers. Office Max and Office Depot officially confirmed with Good e-Reader today that the two companies are getting out of the Kindle Paperwhite business and will no longer carry them in the stores or online. Big box retailer Staples has reached its allotment of Kindle Paperwhite e-readers and has suspended the online sales of further units. Finally, Amazon has implemented a one unit quota. If you have ordered a device in the last six months and are trying to order more, the company will automatically refund any further orders and then send out an email saying, “If you place future orders for this item, you risk the permanent suspension of your account.”
A reader forwarded a link and asked me if this was true. Obviously not, but for the sake of thoroughness I did look into the story.
First, Amazon has issued a denial about Office Max and Office Depot no longer carrying the Kindle hardware:
This is not the case – Office Depot and Office Max are still selling the Kindle family.
Second, Staples has never carried Amazon's gadgets online; so far as I know Amazon will not let any retailer sell the Kindle on a website (Amazon doesn't want direct competition, obviously). Some weren't even allowed to post the product pages online. Oh, and right now Staples has Kindles in stock in all my local stores; clearly they don't have a shortage.
Now, the last bit about Amazon implementing a single unit quota on Kindle sales would be especially interesting if it were true. But I don't see how that could be; we know there is a high probability that Amazon did not have great hardware sales this holiday season so it's incredibly unlikely that they have run out of Kindles.
I couldn't get Amazon to deny that last piece of speculation, so I found another way to disprove it.
The best way to tell if the quota rumor is true is to buy a Kindle, so I did. Last night I bought a KPW, and then a few minutes later I bought a second one. They are due to arrive tomorrow. Amazon did not cancel either order nor was I threatened with my account being closed.
To be honest, I had a pretty good idea that this story was bogus (it didn't pass the giggle test) and given Good E-Reader's past track record for outlandish creations I was hesitant to believe them at all. These folks don't have the best judgement when it comes to inventing sources. They are the ones who said they had source telling them that Amazon was going to release a Kindle Fire with free 3G, B&N would launch the Nook UK Store at the London Book Fair, and that the Kindle would support Epub.
What fun they must have over there, making stuff up as they go along.
I'm jealous, honest.
P.S. If anyone outside the US wants a Kindle Paperwhite, drop me a line. I have a couple that I don't need and I'll pass them along at cost.