Amazon says that its Kindle 3 ebook reader has become the site's best-selling product ever, and that on Christmas Day more people activated new Kindles, downloaded Kindle apps and bought ebooks than on any previous day.
The company announced that sales of the Kindle 3 had overtaken the previous record holder, the book of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, released in July 2007. That had seen 1m pre-orders online before it was published, and has sold more than 40m copies worldwide – though it is unknown what proportion would have been sold through Amazon.
The company has not released sales figures for the Kindle, though sources within the company told Bloomberg this month that it will have sold about 8m Kindles by the end of this year. Bloomberg said the figures come from "two people who are aware of the company's sales projections".
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and chief executive, said: "We're seeing that many of the people who are buying Kindles also own an LCD tablet [referring to devices such as Apple's iPad], released in April … Customers report using their LCD tablets for games, movies and web browsing, and their Kindles for reading sessions ... Kindle's $139 price point is a key factor – it's low enough that people don't have to choose."
The online retailer has always been reluctant to give a figure for how many Kindles have been sold, possibly because it does not want it to be compared with those from consumer electronics companies such as Apple and Sony. But the numbers provided are about 60% higher than analysts' forecasts of about 5m Kindles this year.
By contrast, Apple is expected to about 12m of its iPad tablets this year, having begun selling them in April.
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