14 August 08 | Chad W. Post

From Levi Asher:

If 240,000 units have really sold, then I am flat out wrong. Nobody, not even me, can argue with $75 million in revenue for an innovative tech product’s first year. I do find this figure slightly incredible (especially since I live in New York City and have never yet seen anybody walking around with a Kindle), but I also believe TechCrunch to be a reputable source of information, so I’m not sure what to think.

From Shelf Awareness:

Tom Allen, general manager of Stacey’s Bookstore, San Francisco, Calif., wrote: “I would assume that a significant share [of Kindle sales] would have been purchased in the Bay Area. However, I find it odd that I have yet to see one in action. I ride BART to and from work five days a week and see dozens (hundreds?) of iPods every week and a laptop or two or three every day, but nary a Kindle. Who has them and where are they? Wouldn’t reading one while commuting be a primary use?”

And Rob Dougherty, manager of the Clinton Book Shop, Clinton, N.J., said, “To date, only three individuals who have come into the shop have even mentioned having or having had the Kindle. I say ‘having had’ because one individual lost their Kindle. We talked about how it is so much easier to replace a $6.99 paperback as opposed to a little box they paid hundreds for.”

And as I quoted yesterday, Ed Nawotka had similar sentiments about not seeing a single Kindle in Houston. This seems like a weird buzz moment—everyone seems to be talking about the Kindle and it’s possible impact on the world of books, but no one seems to have one (except for Hannah of Literary Rapture) despite solid sales—solid in some people’s opinion, just not Ed Champion who states “240,000 units doesn’t represent a paradigm shift.” I might be wrong about this, but in contrast to what happened with the iPod (or iPhone) where people really wanted to see and play with one, and were all impressed with how slick and cool it was, that doesn’t seem to be the feeling with the Kindle.

And speaking of the iPhone, I think the Kindle is about to get some very serious competition (from PW):

Stephen Pendergast, cofounder of Fictionwise, told PW Daily that in the month since Apple released the new 3G iPhone on July 11, Fictionwise’s eReader software for the iPhone and iPod Touch has been installed on 130,000 devices. In addition, out of that group, about 35,000 have purchased e-books for the reader from Fictionwise.com. “That’s about one in four or five. We’re pleased,” said Pendergast. [. . .]

The new eReader 1.1 upgrade will allow users to download books from any site that sells or offers e-books in the eReader format, rather than just from Fictionwise. [. . .]

eReader format titles can be found at sites like Manybooks.net and Diesel-ebooks, which offer thousands of free public-domain and purchasable e-book titles optimized for the iPhone. Other new features of eReader 1.1 include reverse-video (white text on black background) for night reading; better sorting for the eReader library; the ability to lock screen orientation (for people who read in bed on their sides, said Pendergast); the ability to switch between “tap” and “swipe” page turning; uploading personal content in the PBD format; and other new features.

Although the book sales are no where near as impressive as what’s happened with Amazon, being on 130,000 phones ain’t all that far behind the 240,000 Kindles sold so far . . .

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