Monday, 28 November 2011

How Many Kindles Are Out There?

By Matt Lynn

At the moment, I’m spending a lot of time setting up my new digital publishing venture, Endeavour Press. One of the things that interests me is, how many Kindles are out there. Amazon reported today that over the holiday weekend in the US it had sold four times as many Kindles as it did last year. But, rather irritatingly, it doesn’t actually say how many.

Figures are surprisingly hard to come by. For 2010, the estimates from the analysts are that million Kindles were sold. Let’s take a median figure, and called it 6.5 million. If Amazon has quadrupled those sales this time around – and based on anecdotal evidence, that sounds realistic – then it should sell around 26 million this year.

Add in the 2010 sales, and, after Xmas there could be 32 million Kindles out there globally. That’s about half the population of the UK. More significantly, I bet nearly all of those people are keener than average readers. After all, there isn’t much point in getting one if you only read one James Patterson book a year. You need to be a 5-10 books a year minimum reader to make the investment worthwhile.

So what proportion of heavy book readers will have a Kindle by 2012? I’d estimate about 40%. That’s what makes this market so fascinating. 


  1. This is true and don't forget that there are a lot of people with smart phones that downloaded the kindle app for free instead of actually buying the kindle device. Despite not buying the device, these people are still buying books from Amazon to read on their phones. It's amazing.

  2. I have one of the earlier Kindles - one without a backlight (not being able to read in the dark) and a Nook - also with the same problem. Now I heard about the eR-Vu that allows the Kindle and Nook to be read in the dark without the annoying clip-on lights. Anyone ever heard of this eR-Vu?