By all accounts Amazon's Kindle eBook reader appears to be a resounding success. Despite the gadget's shortcomings -- no PDF support, closed eBook format, poor batter life when using the wireless service, limited magazine selection -- the $359 device sold out almost immediately after going on sale, fetching as much as $1,500 in Ebay auctions. Fast forward to today and the Kindle pushes over 12 percent of Amazon's book sales. And rumor has it that Amazon will soon release a new model, Kindle 2.0, a bigger version of the original in a multitude of colors.
Book sales aside, just how successful has the Kindle been? Because Amazon won't disclose how many of its eBook readers it has sold, nobody knows for sure, but TechCrunch claims to have the inside scoop. "240,000 Kindles have been shipped since November, according to a source close to Amazon with direct knowledge of the numbers," TC reports.
If true, that puts Kindle sales close to the $100 million mark and well over that amount after factoring in book sales, subscriptions, and so on. But that's only the tip of the iceberg. TC notes that Scott Devitt, an analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., has Amazon on track to sell 500,000 to 750,000 more Kindles within the next four quarters, with a total revenue of up to $355 million after tallying up additional book sales. This, he says, values the Kindle as a $1 billion business for Amazon.