How Amazon's Kindle Is Killing the Competition

Big sales, updates and missteps by rivals have bloggers claiming an early victory for Amazon's e-reader this holiday season

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Bloggers gawked at a press release from Amazon on Monday claiming that not only was November the "best sales month ever" for its prized e-reader, the Kindle, but that the device actually outsold all other products available on the retail Web site. The news was actually just the icing on the Amazon's cake, as tech analysts noted that several other recent developments had already conspired to make the Kindle the clear market leader for e-readers this holiday shopping season.

  • Sales Force CrunchGear's Matt Burns is cautious about Amazon's claim that the Kindle is the best-selling product across all of Amazon's product categories, especially since the company "hasn't released any hard sales numbers and probably won't anytime soon." But as he puts it, "Nook what? If this press release is true, and there really isn’t any reason to doubt it, the Kindle outsold the iPod touch, Sarah Palin and Dan Brown’s books, and everything else. That’s impressive."
  • Competitor Delays  Writing for Daily Finance, Douglas McIntyre reviews the bad news for Sony and Barnes & Noble. Both companies have such severe shortages of their respective e-readers, the First Edition and the Nook, which many customers won't be able to get their hands on the devices until after the holidays. While the companies tried to spin the news, citing unprecedented demand, McIntyre and many other bloggers agree that Amazon won't hesitate to seize the opportunity: "Are the Barnes & Noble and Sony problems fatal to their e-reader launches? Probably not. Are they likely to keep each company from getting substantial market share in the market, at least short term? Almost certainly, yes. Amazon is proving that one of the most important retail rules is still in effect: Those without inventory are destined to lose the sales battle."
  • Better Battery Life PC World's Jared Newman explains how Amazon is charging ahead of the competition with a free, downloadable firmware update that extends the battery life of the Kindle by a whopping 85%: "It's easy to see the firmware update as a counter-attack against Sony's Readers and Barnes & Noble's Nook. The nook lasts for 10 days with Wi-Fi turned off, but if you turn it on, you'll need to charge the reader after two days of use. Sony's Reader Pocket and Touch editions last two weeks on a charge, but there's no battery-draining Wi-Fi."
  • Native PDF Support Amazon's Kindle firmware update also fixes what was arguably its severest shortcoming-- the lack of native PDF support (in all models except the DX). Adobe's Portable Document Format is a standard for many customers, especially in the fields of education and business. As TechTree puts it: "This might appeal to larger masses and especially the business guys who get number of PDF files through correspondence." Most importantly, it undercuts what was formerly Sony's competitive advantage, as pointed out at eBookReaderGuide: "This is HUGE news because one of the major things separating the Kindle from the Sony reader is the ability to directly access and read PDF documents. And now it can!"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.