Amazon’s Kindle book reader product for Amazon. Considering that Amazon has, in the perception of the buying public, a very strong link with both books and electronics the Kindle fits in really well with the Amazon business model.
Over the course of 2009, e-book readers in general, and the Kindle in particular, were the cool “must have” personal electronics devices of the year. All the signs are that sales will keep growing at an almost exponential rate throughout 2010. The market is still very new and is developing and changing at lightning speed.
Right now, the Kindle is the market leader by a long way. It currently has a 60% share of the U.S. e-book reader market. Sony is in second place with a smaller but nonetheless creditable 35% market share. There are a whole host of competitors who have now developed e-book readers of their own in an attempt to get a piece of the action in what is forecast to become a large and profitable market.
It’s a compliment to Amazon, albeit a slightly back-handed one, that practically every new e-book reader that displays and potential is immediately dubbed the “Kindle Killer”. However, bearing in mind that the Kindle is now Amazon’s number one selling item, you can be certain that Amazon will be fighting tooth and nail to hang on to the lead position.
Amazon has responded to growing competition by lowering the ticket price of the Kindle 2.0 from its $ 359 launch level to $ 259. The price of the Kindle DX, which probably has a little less competition just at the moment, remains unchanged. There have also been firmware updates, including the addition of pdf support and extended battery life, among others.
Amazon has also now released both the Kindle 2.0 and the DX in more than 100 countries globally. In truth, Amazon could probably sell Kindles in the States as fast as it could manufacture them – but establishing a global Kindle presence is a wise long term strategy for Amazon.
Over and above developing the Kindle reader itself and entering new markets, Amazon continues to expand the choice of Kindle books available on its Kindle store. There are currently over 400,000 titles available – and this number is being added to at an average rate of 500 each and every day.
So, although there are a huge number of manufacturers scrambling to develop e-book readers in order to break into the market, Amazon is probably quietly confident. Rather than simply focusing on hardware development, Amazon is making improvements in a number of different areas. They are developing the existing Kindle, tweaking prices, expanding their market, expanding the selection of available books and generally capitalising on their market leadership position. When they decide to launch the Kindle 4 – sometime this year in all probability – they are going to consolidate their leadership position even more.