clearly wants to reassure investors that its
is coping with the threat posed by
iPad, but actual Kindle sales numbers are still hard to come by.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Amazon said that the latest versions of the Kindle, launched in late July, are the fastest-selling Kindles ever. The Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk Web sites have sold more of the new Kindle and Kindle 3G than any other products during the last four weeks, according to the online retail giant.
performance, however, remains clouded in secrecy. Despite plenty of hype over the last few years, the retailer has not released any actual sales figures for its e-book, although a company spokeswoman told
that Amazon has sold "millions of Kindles overall" in an email on Wednesday.
Last month, when Amazon released its second-quarter numbers, the retailer said that the Amazon.com Web site is selling more Kindle books than hardcover books. The U.S. Kindle Store now has more than 630,000 books available, it added.
"Kindle device unit sales accelerated each month in the second quarter -- month-over-month, and year-over-year, and that's just counting online sales," added the Amazon spokeswoman in her email to
Amazon nonetheless faces stiff competition in the increasingly crowded e-book market. In addition to
Barnes & Noble's
Nook, the prospect of an imminent
tablet launch should also be cause for concern. Like the Apple iPad, the Google tablet will likely serve a number of functions, from e-book reader to gaming capabilities.
Apple, unlike Amazon, has been happy to reveal its unit sales;
said it has sold more than 3 million iPads since the device was launched in early April.
With competition intensifying, Amazon has repeatedly slashed its Kindle pricing. When the original Kindle launched in 2007, it was priced at $399, and by last year the price dropped 35% to $259. The new Kindle costs $189 for a 3G and Wi-Fi version while a Wi-Fi only Kindle is available for just $139.
Investors surveyed by
earlier this month predicted that Amazon will be
. Some 48.7% of voters said the Kindle's price will bottom out at $99 and another 31.8% think it could go even lower.
Amazon shares rose $1.44, or 1.2%, to $126.02 on Wednesday, outpacing the modest uptick in tech stocks that saw the Nasdaq gain 0.11%.
--Written by James Rogers in New York.
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