Bah. Humbug. That’s right, it’s Black Friday and Kindle is sold out! Expected ship date is in 11 to 13 weeks.
Heavy Customer Demand for Kindle?
How exactly does this happen? And no, I don’t believe that it’s “due to heavy customer demand”.
If customer demand had been that heavy Amazon would have been a lot more vocal about it and wouldn’t have called the projections floating around the Internet “extremely high“.
Kindle Production Problems
For the moment lets pretend the heavy customer demand was real. (Who knows, maybe Oprah did move some Kindles.) It shows a glaringly bad supply chain and inventory management system for Kindle. Seriously, you’re going to be out of a ‘hot’ product during the holidays? Miss out on Cyber Monday? It makes little to no sense.
The supply chain and production problems do match some of the things I heard years ago when I first got wind of Amazon building some sort of eReader. The rumor was that it was expensive and laden with material problems. Lets face it, Amazon isn’t known for hardware, is it? So, perhaps Amazon just can’t build Kindles fast enough.
If we believe that Kindle is sold out, does this point to the idea that Kindle 2.0 will be out early in 2009? Again, it could be a production problem. Could Amazon have stopped producing the current Kindle, but not have gotten Kindle 2.0 up and running in time for the holidays? If so, do people who pre-order the Kindle get a notification that they’re not getting the current version, but a Kindle 2.0? Does this imply the same purchase price, or lower, for Kindle 2.0?
Amazon Dodges Poor Christmas Kindle Sales
The conspiracy theorist in me screams that Amazon has decided to protect Kindle from poor holiday sales. The economy has battered sales across the board and Kindle has a high price tag. What better way to preserve Kindle buzz than to claim victory before the holidays. We don’t know if they’re really sold out, do we?
The interesting thing about this approach is that it would give Amazon the ability to measure holiday demand for Kindle through pre-orders. They can take pre-orders and based on volume then determine future production schedules or new version releases.
In the end this looks bad for Amazon unless you blindly believe the “heavy customer demand” messaging. Do you believe?