Sold-Out Kindles Still Available—for a Price

Amazon loses out as savvy buyers trade e-book for big returns
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2008 2:09 AM CST chairman and CEO Jeff Bezos holds the Kindle.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – has run out of Kindle e-book readers, sending their prices soaring on the second-hand market and on sites like eBay, reports Bloomberg. Ever since an Oprah endorsement in October cleaned out the online retailer’s stock, those with Kindles in hand have sought to secure a return on their investment. The device retails for $359 but it can now fetch anywhere from $500 to $1,500.

Of course, that extra money isn’t going to Amazon, which was blindsided by the increased demand Oprah’s nod triggered. “Could they have ended up with more inventory of this, and therefore, more sales? Sure. But in this economy, I don’t fault its strategy.” says one analyst. Given the gadget’s popularity, watchers are revising their sales estimates—with some forecasting $1 billion by 2010 for the device and licensed content.