Barclays Capital analyst Douglas Anmuth indulges in some intelligent forecasting for the Kindle…
“We expect Amazon will sell more than 5 million Kindles this year, going toward 11.5 million in 2012, … a bifurcated market has clearly developed between more expensive, multi-function tablets and cheaper, dedicated eReaders. We expect the Kindle to maintain and even grow share of the eReader market, while Amazon’s Apps strategy enables the Kindle store to be the leading eBooks seller across a wide range of devices. We project total Kindle related revenue to reach $1.7 billion this year and grow to $4.3 billion in 2012.”
So I’d speculate that such levels of sales would give us a working population of perhaps 25m Kindles by Xmas 2012? If only a third of buyers are active user/buyers at that time, and if these readers only buy six ebooks a year from the Kindle store, then that would mean Amazon could be selling about 50 million ebooks a year to Kindle users by Xmas 2012. That would be a lowest-end estimate, if a lot of units sold end up as unwanted Xmas presents gathering dust. It may well be ten times that. Anmuth is reportedly suggesting 527.6 million books sold for the Kindle in 2012.
Anmuth had warnings about the ability to verify Amazon’s figures, since they don’t report them. And they won’t be legally required to report them, at least until Kindle revenue accounts for 10 percent of Amazon’s total revenue. If Anmuth’s analysis is broadly correct, Kindle revenue might be hovering at about five percent.
Meanwhile, Slate ponders the apparent way that literary erotica is supposedly driving sales of ebooks on the Kindle. It’s a tenuous bit of fluffy journalism, frankly. But with a broadly 50-50 gender split on the Kindle, there might seem to be an interesting way to expand the existing market for female-friendly erotica. I’m thinking older women who don’t particularly want to buy such books in a bookstore, or even get them through the post/mail, but who would be happy to buy them via an instant download.