Fires outselling Paperwhites

Fires outselling Paperwhites


It’s always interesting for me to check the bestsellers in electronics at Amazon.

I reported a while ago that Google’s Chromecast was the #1 electronic, outselling Amazon’s own Kindle hardware.

That’s not the case now…it’s dropped to #2.

What’s #1?

That’s the model I got for myself, and the one I predicted would be the most popular Fire this holiday season.

So, no big surprise there.

What’s interesting to me is that you have to get down to #5 before you run into a non-Fire Kindle:

Things are simply ranked by lowest price: the 16 GB Kindle HD (new gen) is #3 at $169, and the 8 GB is #4 at $139.

The Mindle (that’s what I call the $69 “entry level” model)? It’s number ten on the list.

Kindle DX? #48.

Does this preference for Fires over non-Fires bode ill for the future of dedicated e-book readers?


I don’t think it does. Being one of the top ten selling electronics items at Amazon is still huge. I just think that tablets are seen as more desirable as gift items this year. There’s still a solid market for the Paperwhite.

We may see a rebound for non-Fires in the rankings around, oh, February.

That’s my guess…what do you think? Now that you can get a Fire for less than a non-Fire, will so many people make the leap that non-Fires are threatened? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

9 Responses to “Fires outselling Paperwhites”

  1. Brian Says:

    I think the Fire line is a “safe” gift for pretty much anybody, but I would imagine you would be less inclined to gift an e-inker unless they were a known avid reader and open to reading on a non wooden medium.

    Personally, I can only think of a couple people who I know would use a “real” Kindle, including myself. But almost everyone I know could use a tablet regularly enough to justify making a gift of it.

    When I see people reading on a “real” kindle I think, “mmm hmm, hardcore just like me”. But when I see someone reading on an ipad….. Come on man!!!

    But I recognize that I am terribly biased on the subject, and could even be a bit wrong.

    My only hope is that demand stays strong enough to drive competition and innovation. I would hate to see ereader technology stagnate.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Briaan!

      I think your analysis is reasonable.🙂 My guess for some time has been that we’ll end up with what I call a “dualume” device: one that can switch between backlit and reflective (like the original Kindle) as needed. There have been some efforts in that direction. Of course, that wouldn’t stop the “distraction factor” of a multifunction device, but you can already put a Kindle Fire into “Quiet Time” for reading (so you don’t get notifications).

      • Brian Says:

        That is my fear I am afraid, that Kindles will become less specialized and able to do more, and in so doing become less desirable to users at opposite ends of the spectrum.

        For example: A tablet needs an expensive (and durable) oleophobic glossy glass screen with super accurate capacitive digitizer, zero gap lcd, a monster battery, fast and massive flash storage and a blazing fast multi-core processor. Weight isn’t a big deal as long as it is reasonable.

        An ereader needs none of that. A durable plastic matte cover screen, a low end digitizer, almost nothing (comparatively) in the way of processing power, minimal storage, batteries are too big already, probably because of the need to fill up empty internal space because the case needs to be thick enough to hang on to. The polar opposite of a tablet.

        My hope is that the divide between the two remains deep and wide, and my “technology pyramid” remains in this order (or greater) from the bottom up: Laptop, Chromebook, Tablet, Kindle (the front lit kind), Phone. Maybe a smartwatch on top….

        I hope we don’t end up with Ferrari’s with pushrod V8’s and seating for six.🙂

  2. George Says:

    If the Paperwhite had TTS it just might make it to #1 on the list.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, George!

      I do think that text-to-speech would improve the sales, although it’s really hard to judge that. It would make it a lot more valuable to some people (including me), but it might make it less valuable to others (by raising the cost and lowering the battery life). Just speculation at this point, though…

  3. George Says:

    I have to agree with you that TTS would raise the price of the Paperwhite (I have no idea by how much) but I would think there would be a market for some of us – me for one – who want the best E-reader available plus having TTS for the times we want to listen and rest our eyes. I’d buy one today …

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, George!

      I think people might actually pay more for a Paperwhite with audio…as the Fire rankings showed, people will pay more for something they think is worth more (a Fire with more memory that was more expensive was also more popular).

      It wouldn’t just be the cost of licensing the software: there would also be the need to put at least audio components into it, even if they didn’t give it built-in speakers (that would be one way to go).

      In my case, I did buy the Paperwhite with audio (actually, more than one), but I typically use my Fire for TTS…it’s considerably superior, in my opinion, to the last TTS we had with non-Fires.

  4. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Amazon did buy Liquavista from Samsung — so I’m guessing they have a few more “reflective” arrows in their quiver before they’re done. Over on the forums I’ve seen several suggestions of a PW3 coming in the spring — I don’t give much credence to that. But I do think the direction for EBR’s is to drive the price into the ground — a $25 Kindle doesn’t seem all that far-fetched. At those prices (or even free for Prime members) I could see the EBR hanging around for a long time — just as the wristwatch and the lowly calculator have done.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I agree. A calculator is a “purpose-built device”: so is an EBR (E-Book Reader). I do think we may get to the “free with Prime” model as well…that seemed less likely years ago, but I think the tide may have turned.

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