Amazon: Christmas, Kindle and hype

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The tech headlines were dominated after Christmas day with tales of Amazon’s spectacular e-book success. The fact that Kindle e-books outsold paper ones during Christmas day was hailed as a landmark.

You can find the press release here. However it doesn’t tell you how many books were actually sold on Christmas day. It maybe three for all I know, and we don’t know how much the average price paid for those books by the customers. I can understand why Amazon can’t disclose these numbers as it may be affect by SEC regulations.

The second aspect of this is that Amazon would be in a lot of trouble if people who received Kindle devices didn’t turn them on and give them a test drive including downloading a book or two. Working on BT Genie back in the day I can remember the amount of work that we put in to crisis planning when the inevitable server | network overload hit the WAP portal as 100,000s of ‘internet capable’ mobile phones were given over the Christmas period.

Sure enough, on Christmas day the outage happened as Logica franticly kept putting in new Sun servers and rolling back the database to start everything up again.

At the time, you had the Halifax giving out Nokia phones so that customers could check their balance on the go, and Dominos even facilitated ordering pizzas through it.

Eventually people realised that pizza was easier to order from the web or over the phone rather than through the WAP portal, and WAP was an over-hyped, poorly implemented version of the web and best forgotten now. Indeed ‘WAP is crap‘ was an industry mantra for a while after – but the point is: demand should be high. If it wasn’t the Kindle has serious issues.

The true test of the Kindle’s staying power will be sales six-or-nine months down the road for e-books.

(Image courtesy of Amazon).