Kindle is selling

According to this Silicon Alley Insider post, Amazon is indeed selling lots of Kindles – 240,000 of them since they went on sale in November.

I’m actually surprised at those numbers. Sure, Amazon has done a pretty good job of marketing the Kindle. And Amazon has an advantage that any online marketer would kill for – the Amazon home page – front and center and above the fold.

I don’t have a Kindle, but I’ve played around with one my friend has. I’m not wild about eInk. I have a first-gen Sony Reader. My biggest complaint about eInk is that I can’t read the darn thing in bed without fiddling around with an awkward book light. That’s why I continue to use my old Gemstar eBook. The Gemstar eBook is still around thanks to the guys at Fictionwise. It’s now called the eBookwise – 1150, but except for a few minor tweaks it’s the same as my Gemstar.

The Kindle’s true killer app is the built-in Sprint wireless connection. If you hear or read about a book you’re interested, the eBook is only one click away on your Kindle (provided of course that the Kindle eBook version is available).

However, I will be very interested to see where the prices for Kindle books end up. Right now, most new hardcover titles are available on your Kindle for $9.99. And, for many of those titles, Amazon is selling them for a loss. How happy will Kindle owners be when those prices start going up?

Frankly, eBook pricing just doesn’t make sense. The pricing is based on a physical book, and it’s a price based on buying paper, ink, printing, cover art for a physical book. When distributing an eBook costs pennies (or less than a penny) how does that antiquated pricing make sense?

And, given the lower distribution cost of selling a digital eBook, why don’t publishers lower the prices for eBooks, sell more books, and make more money in volume. That’s certainly the model that worked for Wal-Mart – lower prices and make money on volume.