Amazon says 3rd gen Kindle is fastest seller yet, still doesn't say how many sold

Though Amazon doesn't disclose how many Kindle e-readers it sells, the online retailer today announced that the latest generation Kindle devices are the fastest selling Kindles so far. 24 days into the fourth quarter 2010, the 3rd generation Kindle has already passed total Kindle sales for the entire fourth quarter last year.

This sales explosion is no doubt the result of the Kindle's increased availability after it launched in retail stores early in September. Consumers who may have never seen a Kindle before finally gained the ability to feel how lightweight it is, and see its new higher contrast screen.

Amazon differs from a lot of other companies that sell consumer gadgets, in that it does not announce its sales milestones in terms of "millions sold." The retailer instead describes its sales on a comparative basis, saying it has sold more X than Y whenever it has the chance to do so.

For example, in January this year, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said the company was selling 6 e-books to every 10 physical books. Today, the company said Kindle format is now the format of choice for customers.

"For the top 10 bestselling books on Amazon.com, customers are choosing Kindle books over hardcover and paperback books combined at a rate of greater than 2 to 1.  Kindle books are also outselling print
books for the top 25, 100, and 1,000 bestsellers --it's across the board," said Steve Kessel, Senior Vice President, Amazon Kindle.  "This is remarkable when you consider that we've been selling hardcover and paperback books for 15 years, and Kindle books for just 36 months."

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