There’s a lot of excitement at Amazon’s latest Kindle press release, some the result of misreporting and misreading.
Amazon says “customers are purchasing well over 1 million Kindle devices per week” – that’s ALL Kindle models, the ad-carrying ‘special offers’ model, the touch and the Fire.
That’s not, despite what some reports claim, the same as saying “we’re selling 1m Kindle Fires per week” but sadly (unless you’re Amazon), that’s how the story is likely to be told.
In fact Amazon hasn’t broken down that 1m+ sales between each of its models so we don’t know how well the Fire is selling – but we can have some fun guessing.
The press release goes on to claim:
“Kindle Fire is the most successful product we’ve ever launched – it’s the bestselling product across all of Amazon for 11 straight weeks, we’ve already sold millions of units”
So that’s unspecified “millions” over 11 weeks where the entire range is selling 1m and an unspecified bit of a million per week for the past three weeks.
In a press release, “millions” can be anywhere from just under 2 million (press agency rounding up) to infinity but in this case we have a maximum cap for infinity.
Amazon’s PR refers to “well over 1 million” for three weeks.
“Well over 1 million” is less than 2 million, but let’s be generous and assume it’s an average of 1.5m per week. That would mean Amazon sold 4.5m Kindles of all varieties in the past three weeks.
Kindle Fire accounts for an unknown share of this 4.5m in what is its biggest selling period – Amazon says “demand is accelerating – Kindle Fire sales increased week over week for each of the past three weeks.”
We can to some extent discount Amazon’s boasts of the Fire’s demand growing – it’s the peak gift buying period so most items are seeing rising sales.
What matters is the proportion between the Fire and the e-ink Kindles and of this, we have no way of being sure.
We could rely on reason and assume the cheaper, e-ink Kindles have been the biggest selling – if you’re buying a present are you more likely to spend $79 or $199? But what’s the split?
No matter how one pulls Amazon’s numbers around, they’re too vague to say with confidence how many Fires are selling (let alone how many are going back), other than that it’s less than 1m per week for 11 weeks.
So let’s instead remind ourselves of a time when Amazon thought LCD displays were a bad way to read books: