Kindle Delivers for Amazon

by Anthony John Agnello | December 27, 2010 12:12 pm

After’s (NASDAQ: AMZN[1]) Kindle electronic reading device was declared a fading piece of dead technology in the wake of Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL[2]) iPad tablet earlier this year, it has now been hailed by Wall Street analysts as one of the Christmas season’s biggest sales hits.

In recent weeks, analysts have boosted their expectations for 2010 total Kindle sales — some even doubled estimates based on brisk December sales, predicting a total of 8 million Kindles sold by the end of the year (up from between 4 million and 5 million).

On Monday, Amazon announced that the third-generation Kindle, which was unveiled in August, is now the best-selling product in the online retailer’s history.

While Amazon didn’t unveil specific sales numbers, it did say that the most recent model of the e-reader surpassed the previous record-holder for bestselling product at the company — ironically, an old-school, tree-based book: J.K. Rowling’s 2007 novel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final in that ubiquitous series.

Rowling’s book sold 15 million copies worldwide during its first day, so it’s possible the Kindle may even surpass analysts’ raised estimates.

Amazon said author Stieg Larson’s novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was the most purchased book on Kindle e-readers — and through the Kindle app via other platforms during Christmas day.

And that tidbit may ultimately be more pertinent for investors following both Amazon’s digital book business and the Kindle’s future success. Dragon Tattoo is published by a division of Random House, which has titles available on competing devices like the Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS[3]) Nook, but not through Apple’s digital iBookstore. For the time being, Amazon’s e-reader is going to ultimately drive the digital book sales market more than the iPad, thanks to title availability, and not overall device sales.

The Kindle was just one factor in an excellent holiday season for Amazon. The company announced strong sales, with more than 9 million shipments across all its categories on its peak day of the season, the Monday after Thanksgiving. That day, Nov. 29, saw 13.7 million items purchased, which equates to, as Amazon states, an all-time record of 158 items sold each second.

As of this writing, Anthony John Agnello did not own a position in any of the stocks named here.

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