Thanks no doubt to an endorsement from Oprah—who described Amazon.com’s Kindle as her “new favorite gadget”—the ebook reader is once again out of stock for the holidays, the Wall Street Journal reports. In fact, the $359 device won't be available again until February at the earliest. The news speaks to a trend once thought improbable: ebooks are catching on.
"What's happened is that they've created tremendous demand, but it's not as visible as the market for the iPod because people use their iPods in a very public way," says one publishing exec. "You don't do a lot of ebook reading while jogging, or standing up on the bus." Ebooks still make up only a tiny fraction of publishing sales, but they also are one of the few unmistakable growth areas for the industry, the Journal notes.