Amazon continues to tease out its Kindle Fire sales numbers

by David Needle

December 29 2011

Amazon.com says its new Kindle Fire is selling like gangbusters. Well that’s not exactly what the Internet retail giant said, but it wasn’t all that specific either.

Amazon reported record sales of its Kindle family of tablets and ereaders in December. The company didn’t say specifically how well its closely watched $199 Kindle Fire tablet sold other than to repeat earlier comments that it has sold in millions of units since its release last month. 

Several reports estimated Amazon was able to lock in well over a million in pre-orders in the months leading up to the Kindle Fire’s release. Just how well Amazon’s done since the Kindle Fire’s release has been a source of continued speculation by industry watchers as its considered to be the strongest challenger to the iPad so far. 

Amazon said in a release today that customers purchased “well over 1 million Kindle devices per week” throughout December. These figures include the lower cost Kindle ereaders as well as Kindle Fire. Amazon did confirm that Kindle Fire held the top spot this month on its best seller list followed by two other Kindles, the Kindle Touch and original Kindle.

NPD Group analyst Stephen Baker says he thinks there’s been too much focus in the industry and among tech watchers with Kindle Fire’s sales figures.

All the obsession with the Kindle Fire’s sales volume and market share are totally misplaced and miss the point of the product in general,” says Baker. “The important thing is how many people are still buying it in March, not how many are buying it today. Amazon’s got a business model that needs to be proved out.”

A big part of the business model Baker is referring to is one unique to Amazon among tablet makers. Teardown analysts believe Amazon is selling the Kindle Fire at a slight loss, a practice the company can afford to do because the device is so well-geared to promote purchases at Amazon’s online store. 

“We are grateful to our customers worldwide for making this the best holiday ever for Kindle,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, in a release. “And in a huge milestone for independent publishing, we’d also like to congratulate Darcie Chan, the author of ‘The Mill River Recluse,’ and Chris Culver, the author of ‘The Abbey,’ for writing two of the best-selling Kindle books of the year.”

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