There’s been some discussion in the Practical Caravan forums about the Amazon Kindle 3, along with ebook readers in general and the thread has ranged from choosing the best device to sources of free ebooks. A ebook reader is only as good as the reading material available to it, of course, and if you want to read (and pay for) the latest titles, then the Kindle 3 is the better option — the device is great and Amazon’s ebook offering, while not perfect, is the best we’ve seen.

The Kindle Wi-Fi is certainly priced to sell at £111 (the price went up by £2 as a result of the recent VAT increase) and although Amazon has so far been pretty vague about sales figures, its recent financial results report does fill in a few details.

Amazon still isn’t letting on precisely how many Kindles it has sold since its launch in September last year, but it has announced that the number is measured in “millions” and it’s the best-selling product in the online retailer’s history. More to the point, Kindle ebooks outsold paperbacks by 15% in the US over the course of 2010 and hardbacks by 200%.

When it comes to the range of ebooks available, Amazon reckons that it has 810,000 available in its US store and 670,000 cost less than $10. It neglects to mention that some ebooks are still priced higher than both their paperback and hardback editions, though this is no fault of its own — unlike with print editions, publishers control ebook pricing.

Incidentally, the expert estimation is that the $189 Kindle Wi-Fi (£111 in the UK) amounts to around $156 in parts. Add in the estimated costs for manufacturing and other sundry items, and the Kindle 3 looks like it sells for less than it costs Amazon to make. With ebook sales figures like these though, it looks like this is a model for success — it works for the likes of Gillette, after all…


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