Kindle Is King of the Market —But It's a Small Market

Amazon's electronic reader is up against tough demographics
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2008 9:14 PM CDT chairman and CEO Jeff Bezos holds the Kindle, a portable reading device with the ability to wirelessly download books, blogs, magazines, and newspapers.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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(Newser) – After about 9 months on the market, how goes the Kindle? No official sales figures are out for Amazon's electronic reader, but Liz Gunnison of Portfolio tries to get a sense of things. If you were expecting it to ignite a revolution in reading, keep dreaming. Amazon has likely sold about 240,000—that puts revenue at about $100 million, a "rounding error" by Amazon standards—and Gunnison doesn't see a huge market beyond that because of a host of demographic and market factors.

We're talking about reading, after all, "not exactly a growth industry," Gunnison writes. "The bottom line? Designing the game-changing e-reader, it seems, is more like designing the game-changing harpsichord than the iPod." Still, Amazon has two big things going in its favor: Profit margins on the $359 device are high, and a potential big market looms in academia as an alternative to bulky textbooks.