Reports are coming in from across the web that the Wifi mode is out of stock on Amazon.com as well as Amazon.it and Amazon.es. Those websites are still selling the 3G model, so readers aren't completely cut off, but the better selling Wifi model is no longer available.
I was first tipped to this story at the beginning of the month by a reader, who told me that the KPW Wifi was out of stock on the European websites (Thanks, aceflor!). I didn't think it meant anything at the time, but now that Amazon.com is showing a similar shortage of Kindle Paperwhites it's clear that I was wrong.
It looks like Amazon is letting the Kindle Paperwhite go out of stock before they launch a replacement. That's different from past years when Amazon continued to sell older models for several weeks or months after shipping their newest ereader.
On a related note, Amazon also stopped selling the Kindle Keyboard earlier this year, also without announcing a replacement. I am bring up that older news because two points make a line, and that line is pointing at a startling possibility. What if this is a sign that Amazon isn't going to launch new Kindles this year?
That's not as crazy as it sounds. We don't really know much about the number of ereaders made and sold, though the latest quarterly reports from E-ink suggest that sales aren't as good as they used to be (also that Amazon's E-ink screen purchases had dropped). What if Amazon is seeing a decrease in the number of people interested in buying a grayscale screen?
This speculation would fit in with the news from earlier this year that Amazon bought Liquavista, a competing screen tech company with a low power color screen. Maybe Amaozn is hoping to goose their ereader sales with a color screen, though as one reader reminds me we aren't likely to see that ereader this year.
On the other hand, maybe Amazon simply misjudged the demand for the Kindle Paperwhite. For all we know there might be a new E-ink ereader coming from Amazon in the next few months, possibly even with an ultra-HD screen.
It is frankly too early to say for certain.