updated 05:30 pm EDT, Mon August 2, 2010
Amazon says Kindle at 80pc share, using own device
Amazon today in a talk provided some rare added insight into the Kindle by disputing Apple's market share claims. The store's VP of Digital Ian Freed believes assertions the iBookstore has 22 percent share are false as Amazon has too large a share, at 70 to 80 percent, for Apple to take the rest. With a field that also includes Barnes & Noble's Nook, the iBookstore's actual share is likely smaller, Freed said.
"Obviously, from the beginning of Amazon we've been very metrics focused and we don't typically throw out numbers we don't firmly believe in," he explained to CNET. "Take that 70 to 80 percent number and add up all the others and something somewhere isn't going to add up."
Apple's statistics are thought to be selective, as they only include its share among the five major publishers that sell through the iBookstore. They didn't include Random House or a number of independent publishers that may do business with Amazon or other retailers and which skew the results significantly more in Amazon's favor. Its share may be growing as well, as Amazon is ahead of the American Association of Publishers' tracked 200 percent growth rate in e-book share.
The discussion also revealed that Amazon is heavily dependent on Kindle device sales. About 80 percent of all unique readers own a Kindle reader, whether it's their only reading device or not, the VP said. Only a minority use the iPad, a smartphone or a computer to read using the Kindle software. A "lot" of customers also see a halo effect which starts them on a mobile app and leads them to buy the Kindle hardware later.
Freer cautioned that the connection between books and devices wasn't part of a planned business model. The Kindle business is designed to be profitable and independent of the e-book sales themselves.