I've said it before but I'll say it again, I misjudged the Kindle.  I, along with most tech bloggers, pegged it for a quick death with its seemingly high price tag and seemingly low number of features. 

But now Time is reporting that Kindle sales have doubled in the last two months (on top of sales that appeared to be impressive before that).  Here's the quote...

Is the Kindle starting to catch fire with consumers? From the Department of Inscrutable Data Points comes word that e-book sales for Amazon's Kindle — its digital reading device-have doubled during the past two months. Kind of, sort of, maybe.

According to a source at Amazon, "on a title-by-title basis, of the 130,000 titles available on Kindle and in physical form, Kindle sales now make up over 12% of sales for those titles." Amazon is notoriously tight lipped about sales data, and the new line of business that the Kindle represents for the online retail powerhouse has been especially frustrating for analysts and media to parse. At a technology trade conference in May, CEO Jeff Bezos said that Kindle sales accounted for 6% of book titles sold for the Kindle and in print.

Though Kindle is important on a tech level what makes it fascinating is how it bucked the gadget trend.  The perception is that "gadgets" have to appeal to the tech crowd first and that they then trickle down to the average consumer. 

But the more I look at the Kindle the more I realize its success is a tribute to the idea that the average consumer doesn't want the same things that "Gadget hounds" do.  Looking at the device it's practically feature deficient.  But it has three things that average users seem to care about...

  • A screen that is easy on the eyes,
  • A physical size that's comfortable in the hand
  • And a wireless feature that makes purchasing easy. 

Those seem to be enough for most people. 

As with any Kindle post I need to give the standard caveat.  Amazon refuses to release actual numbers so we really don't know specifically how successful the device is.  But whatever the numbers are the trend line is clearly headed northwards and that's more than any tech blogger expected when it was released.