Amazon Kindle Sales on the Rise?

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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. So Amazon appears to be selling more e-books.

Since we're dealing with percentages rather than unit sales, it's impossible to say whether we're talking about a ton of books, or a modest number. But it's fairly certain that, given the enormous number of new books that Amazon sells, and the fact that many if not most are also simultaneously released as Kindle e-books, we're talking about a good sign for Amazon.

A couple of things could explain the uptick. The Kindle quickly sold out shortly after it was unveiled on Amazon at the end of 2007. However, the company recently cranked up supply to meet demand, and cut the price at the end of May from $399 to $359. Some analysts estimate Kindle sales at around 55,000 a month. At the same time, the Kindle is quirkier than your average gadget, and consumers are learning how to use it. It's possible that as Kindle owners warm up to the gadget — and as the library of titles rapidly grows — they increase the rate of their purchases. We now return you to more scrutable data points...