3 Million Kindles Sold, New Free Reader Software, and Future Reader Tech

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Amazon, Macmillan Publishing, and Price Wars

When Amazon announced their fourth quarter sales and financials, they showed a marked improvement going up 42% to $9.5 billion for the end of the year.  Buried in those results was another startling set of numbers: the Kindle sold exceptionally well during the Holiday season and for every 10 physical books sold, Amazon sells 6 digital ones.

The real shocker with the Kindle numbers blew most analysts out of the water.  According to TechCrunch, analysts expected the company to sell around 2.5 million by the end of 2010, but Amazon has apparently beaten that number by hitting the three million mark before the end of 2009!

That’s amazing and is followed by another bit of news, just released from Amazon this morning: the Kindle Reader software is available for free for PC download and will soon be coming to the Mac and possibly even the iPhone.  This is probably to encourage new users who may eventually upgrade to a real Kindle device, which will be facing competition from the new iPad from Apple and is seeing competition now from the Barnes & Noble Nook.

Another innovative device, which will likely be on shelves this year, may put the Kindle, the Nook, and possibly even the iPad out of business is the Pixel Qi.  This innovative device is quietly being put into production by LCD legend Mary Lou Jepsen who is quite literally responsible for the tech that makes netbooks possible–cheap screens.

She did that while engineering $100 laptops for One Laptop Per Child, a non-profit dedicated to bringing computers and Internet access to underpriveledged children world wide.

The reader market is the one to watch for this years’ greatest innovations in gadgetry.  While the iPad is slowing down the Internet with all of its buzz (for what reason, I can’t fathom), it’s not the innovation to keep your eye on, in my estimation.  That belongs to the emergence of the digital book reader, which might soon replace dead tree publication altogether.