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Amazon silent on Kindle sales

Amazon held their quarterly conference call today, and while Jeff was bubbling over with the latest statistics (they’re doing well), he was less forthcoming on the topic of actual Kindle sales.

Net sales for the company were up 51 percent inthe second quarter of 2011 –reaching $9.9 billion for the quarter. Operating income was down, though, $201 million vs $270 million in second quarter 2010.  Net income decreased 8% to $191 million in the second quarter,, compared with net income of $207 million.


  • Sales growth of Kindle devices accelerated in second quarter 2011 compared to first quarter 2011.
  • Since AT&T agreed to sponsor screensavers, Kindle 3G with Special Offers is now our bestselling Kindle device – at only $139.
  • The U.S. Kindle Store now has more than 950,000 books, including New Releases and 110 of 111 New York Times Bestsellers. Over 800,000 of these books are $9.99 or less, including 65 New York Times Bestsellers. Millions of free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books are also available to read on Kindle.

Huh. Did you catch the part about the the 950k titles and millions more free ones?  I’m not sure anyone else can make that boast. Kobo say 2.4 million titles, but they don’t mention the exact split.

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Daniel July 26, 2011 um 8:56 pm

Of course, 250,000 of those booke are probably multiple copies of unwanted public domain works that have been slapped together with little or no quality control, so the actual number is irrelevant.

When friends ask me which ereader to get I tell them to look at who has the books *they want*, and to ignore the various claims regarding library size.

Ravi July 27, 2011 um 4:15 am

Amazon is low-balling the number of books in the US Kindle Store. Kindle for Android has said 1M+ for a few days now. Perhaps they didn’t want to waste the 1M announcement on an earnings call?

Richard Adin July 27, 2011 um 7:04 am

Nate, should I assume you were being sarcastic when you wrote "Huh. Did you catch the part about the the 950k titles and millions more free ones? I’m not sure anyone else can make that boast. Kobo say 2.4 million titles, but they don’t mention the exact split."?

I’ve never understood how supposedly intelligent commentators and reviewers are so easily swayed by a gross number that is absolutely meaningless no matter how you try to dress it up in designer rags.

If Amazon claimed to have 10 million ebooks, so what? First, no one is going to buy or read all of the ebooks. Second, the only number that matters is the one that correlates with the books you want to buy and read as an individual. Third, no one knows how Amazon counts titles to come up with the number. How many times does it count a title that consists of blank pages?

If you only read romance novels, for example, the only number that would matter is how many of your favorite type romance novels Amazon carries compared to Kobo or B&N or Sony or whomever, and even then the number may be way off if none of the ones that Amazon carries are written by authors you like.

I find commenters and reviewers who harp on these gross numbers to be the same people who harp on how great the iPad is even though the iPad is mediocre — a jack-of-all trades and master of none. If what you are looking for is a device to use as an ereader, then the Kindle, Sony Reader, Kobo Touch, and Nook Touch are masters of reading and put iPad to shame. If what you want is to surf the Internet, then iPad is better than the dedicated ereaders but probably not as good as your laptop.

It’s time to quit being conned by meaningless boasts and start pointing out that they are meaningless.

Nate Hoffelder July 27, 2011 um 7:13 am

I wasn’t being sarcastic. It’s just that yesterday we had Kobo with a single figure and Amazon with a split one. I have greater faith that the split number is more realistic in terms of actual unique titles for sale.

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