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Report: Amazon’s Kindle sales may top 8 million in 2010

jeff bezos kindleAmazon has historically been shy about revealing specific numbers when it comes to sales of its e-reader device. However, if anonymous sources are to be believed, Amazon has nothing to be ashamed this year as far the Kindle’s popularity is concerned. Reports are indicating that Amazon managed to sell upwards of 8 million Kindles over the last 12 months — significantly more than had been expected.

Earlier this month, Amazon uncharacteristically tipped its hand to reveal that the Kindle’s holiday sales were in the “millions” and that the device was the company’s “most-gifted” item. No mention was made of yearly totals, let alone specific figures, but the company did say that it had sold more Kindles during this year’s holiday quarter, than it had sold in all of 2009.

Wall Street analysts had predicted that Amazon would manage to offload between 4 and 5 million Kindles during 2010. If the 8 million figure is closer to the actual number of sales, then it would mean that Amazon managed to outperform expectations by at least 60 percent. For comparison purposes, consider that last year’s Kindle sales were reportedly around 2.4 million.

The reports show that the Kindle is proving that there is a strong demand for a stand-alone e-reader, even in the presence of full featured tablet computers such as Apple’s popular iPad, which also contend for the affections of the e-reader buying public.

Earlier in the year, Apple announced that it had sold 7.46 million iPads from April through September of this year and many analysts believe Apple will top 10 million in iPad sales by the year’s end. Amazon has a Kindle app available in Apple’s App Store that allows Kindle books to be downloaded and read through on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

Of more importance for Amazon than the iPad comparison is how the Kindle is faring against similar stand-alone e-reader devices. Barnes & Noble and Sony both have e-readers on the market that are looking to directly compete with Amazon’s offering. If 8 million or more Kindles were actually sold this year, Amazon probably doesn’t have much to worry about.