Kindle Fire stealing Kindle's thunder?

The Kindle Fire is supposedly selling at the rate of 25,000 devices per day. It’s supposedly selling more than all the other new Kindles combined.

The natural question that comes up is – Is Kindle Fire going to turn Kindle the eReader into an afterthought?

Customer Interest in Kindle Fire is overwhelming the official Kindle Forum

One data point supporting the claim that Kindle Fire sales are very strong is the amount of interest regarding the Kindle Fire at the official Kindle Forum –

  1. The first page (at 1:39 am EST) had 6 threads about the Kindle Fire and just one about the eInk Kindles.
  2. The second page had 8 threads about the Kindle Fire and 4 about the eInk Kindles.
  3. The third page had 7 threads about the Kindle Fire and 3 about the eInk Kindles.
  4. The fourth page had 5 threads about the Kindle Fire and 5 about the eInk Kindles.
  5. The fifth page had 7 threads about the Kindle Fire and 2 about the eInk Kindles.

Across the first five pages there are 33 threads about the Kindle Fire and only 15 threads about all other Kindles combined.

Search and News is dominated by Kindle Fire

Take a look at this image to see just how dominant Kindle Fire is (in terms of search interest and news coverage) –

Kindle Fire is taking over
Search Interest in the various kindles

The Blue line represents Kindle Fire interest. The upper graph is for Internet Searches and the lower graph is for News Articles. You can take a look at it at Google Trends.

By the way, the other device that is getting a lot more attention than eInk Kindles (though much less than Kindle Fire) – Nook Color.

Analyst Estimates and Forecasts are all claiming Kindle Fire is selling more than all other Kindles combined

While estimates vary, the common thread is that all of them suggest that Amazon is currently selling a lot more Kindle Fires than Kindles.

There’s still the 10″ Kindle Fire

There are very strong rumors that a 10″ Kindle Fire Tablet will arrive early in 2012. And that too at a low, low price of $299.

If the 7″ Kindle by itself is selling more than eInk Kindles, it’s a safe bet to assume that the two Kindle Fire tablets together will dwarf the eInk Kindles in total sales.

Are people going to start associating ‘Kindle’ with the Tablets?


If we have a lot more people buying Kindle Fire and a lot more people searching for Kindle Fire and a lot more people asking questions about Kindle Fire – ‘Kindle’ will start being associated with Kindle Fire.

Does all of this even matter?

Well, in a way, it doesn’t. If you’re Amazon you leverage the ‘Kindle’ brand and make it stronger and sell a ton of Tablets and now people can buy movies and games and music in addition to books.

In a way, it does. If you want a dedicated reading device that keeps improving and evolving, then you have to wonder about what happens if this trend continues – if Kindle Fire keeps outselling all other Kindles combined, if it becomes what people think of when they think ‘Kindle’.

Amazon has shifted from ‘eInk is better for reading than LCD’ to selling both eInk and LCD devices. The lines are getting blurred and we don’t really know what future it’s going to lead us to.

There is a possibility that we’ve finally gotten a Kindle Killer – it’s strange that it’s the Kindle Fire. The rest of 2011 is going to be very interesting and 2012 even more so. Barclays is very optimistic and thinks 23.5 million eInk Kindles will be sold in 2012 and that eInk Kindles will outsell Kindle Fire in 2012. However, user interest and search trends and news coverage are telling a very different story.

8 thoughts on “Kindle Fire stealing Kindle's thunder?”

  1. But once again, I think your analysis (excellent as always) is a bit premature. I have a Nook (first generation–gotten for around $80), am very cost-conscious, and want to buy a Kindle. From what you have said the Kindle Fire is almost certainly not the one I will buy. But I am not in a hurry–it is not an “impulse buy.” At around $100 the eink Kindles are a great deal–so I think we need to wait wait until husbands get Christmas gifts for their wives (or for themselves!) or children get them for their over-50 year old parents before we declare that the Kindle Fire is going to kill the Kindle. Right now the Fire is the new kid on the block, so of course it has garnered the most interest. But for many (including myself) $199 is still a lot of money for a glorified ereader/Amazon store front end (as you put it in your initial analysis). Not all of us need another device for movies and music–we either want a full-functioning tablet at a decent price, or a great ereader. The Fire is halfway in between.

    I think all the Kindles will do quite well–exactly as Amazon hopes!

  2. So even so this would only demonstrate that in general America is a media consuming society rather than foremost readers. Didn’t we already know that?
    Likewise, any analysis must consider how many e-readers are already out there. I am not buying an e-reader kindle because I already have one, well actually four. So I might buy a fire to supplement and not supplant my e-readers. Some things would do better on a colored tablet, and since I already have invested in the Amazon ecosystem it would only make sense to continue. So high sales of fire could include a lot of satisfied e-reader buyers, along with all the multi-media consumers.

  3. After reading Todd’s post, I’m glad that I don’t have children. If I did, being 58 would make me feel old.

    Sorry! I couldn’t resist. 🙂

  4. “While estimates vary, the common thread is that all of them suggest that Amazon is currently selling a lot more Kindle Fires than Kindles.”

    Yes, but then again, there are millions of Kindles already in the hands of consumers — there no Kindle Fires. Of course interest in the Kindle Fire is going to far outstrip interest in the newest e-ink Kindle: it’s brand new; it has the whole comparison to the iPad thing going; and it’s price alone guarantees attention.

    The Kindle Touch is exciting but it’s the latest iteration of an already existing device. It’s $99 but that is only $15 less than what I paid for my KSO. Mind, I’ve per-ordered one and, like Todd, I think it will sell very well, but to conclude from the initial reaction that the Fire is a “Kindle Killer” is a bit overwrought.

  5. My (totally uneducated) guess is that more of the $79 Kindles will be sold at Wal-Mart/Target than direct from Amazon. They are not there yet, I think, or at least haven’t been for long.

    Many of the forum members already have a perfectly good Kindle (I love my K3) and hence the Fire has more immediate interest. I hope that Amazon will continue to support e-ink. I am interested in the Fire more as a toy than as an e-reader.

  6. I agree with Roberto: the Kindle Fire is getting the attention because it’s a tablet, not so much an eReader. It’s competing not with other Kindles, non-color Nooks, Kobo/Sony/etc. as much as it is with iPad, Xoom, Galaxy Tab, and so on. Oh, and Nook Color.

    Amazon’s “mistake,” if it is a mistake, is diluting the Kindle brand with a device that isn’t a dedicated eReader (although it could be used for that purpose). But I’m not a marketroid, so this could be the kind of tide that lifts all the Kindle boats…

  7. I think the issue is that it’s new. Yes, there’s lots of people asking questions about a brand new device that nobody’s ever seen before. Nobody knows the answers, so there’s lots of speculation, and a lot of us who already own kindles are excited about it.

    Honestly, there’s nothing particularly new about the new e-ink kindles. For myself, I don’t see it as an upgrade from my K3, so I just don’t find it that interesting. I’ve got a K3, and it is used regularly, but honestly, if I needed to replace it today, I would probably replace it with one of the Kindle Keyboards. I just don’t see the point of touch on a kindle, and I use the keyboard enough to know I wouldn’t want to lose that feature. Add to that the fact that the Touch isn’t going to have 3G browsing, and I see no reason to upgrade.

    I don’t think it means that the Kindle line is at an end. It just means that many of us who already have Kindle devices are more interested in the tablet than in replacing our existing devices.

    I seriously think the majority of people who pre-ordered the K3 when it came out were people who already had a K1 or K2. We knew what the kindle was, and we were excited about the update. We didn’t feel the need to see the device before purchasing.

    1. TuxGirl – you make a very good point. Kindle 4 and Kindle Touch aren’t really upgrades over the existing Kindle (or not really by much) while Kindle Fire is completely new.

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