e-Reader Sales Strong For Holidays


Seattle - Amazon.com said it sold more Kindle e-readers this November than in any prior month, even before Cyber Monday today.

Barnes & Noble and Sony reported they are having difficulty meeting pre-order demand for their first e-readers, which compete with the Kindle by offering 3G wireless book downloads.

Barnes & Noble said it will delay the in-store launch of its Nook e-reader by one week.  The launch through Barnes & Noble stores was originally planned for Nov. 30.  The bookseller has been accepting Nook pre-orders online, but these have also sold out for Christmas and new orders will not be delivered until January, it said 10 days ago.

A Barnes & Noble spokesman said, "Demo devices are scheduled to be available in our highest volume stores the week of Dec. 7. Those highest-volume stores are also expected to receive very limited inventory at a date yet to be determined."

Sony, while hoping to ship pre-orders of its new wireless Daily Edition in time for Christmas, stated on its Web site it cannot guarantee delivery before January.

Sales of e-books are expected to increase from approximately 1 million in the U.S. last year to as much as 4 million this year, according to analysts.

Over the past two years, Amazon sold out of Kindles prior to Christmas, so consumers turned to eBay to purchase the product, driving up prices for the e-reader to record highs reportedly above $700.  A current 6-inch Kindle sells for $259, and the Kindle DX with 9.7-inch screen sells at $489.

Sony said pre-order demand for its $399 Daily Edition announced in August is "extremely high."

Sony's non-3G wireless Pocket and Touch edition e-readers are sold through 10,000 store outlets, and Sony claimed its Touch model "is flying off shelves." The spokesman added, "It's going to be a great holiday season for the Reader."


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