Runaway sales

It may seem crazy now, but when Amazon introduced the first Kindle in 2007, people were very, very sceptical. Mind you, it's not surprising when you look at the thing - it was hideous, and overpriced.

When Amazon showed off the Kindle 3 earlier this year, though, it was clear they'd taken a great leap forward. It was smaller, its screen was much, much, better, and it was cheap - just £109 for a wi-fi-only model. Still, many predicted the Kindle 3 would fail, overshadowed by the all-conquering juggernaut that was Apple's iPad.

It hasn't worked out that way. Amazon don't release Kindle sales figures, but last week BusinessWeek reported that they were on course to sell over 8 million Kindles this year, well more than the 5 million analysts had predicted. The company hasn't confirmed the figure, but they did say today that the Kindle 3 is Amazon's best-selling product of all time.

It's not bad for a product that breaks many of the supposed 'rules' of tech: it doesn't do a million things, it does one, well; it doesn't have the state-of-the-art tech, but is affordable and effective in its task; hard-core geeks and 'early adopters' shun it, but people who don't like computers like it because, well, they read books. Not to mention that the company making it isn't even a hardware company by trade.

Still, let's keep perspective. Apple sold 4.2 million iPads - at at least three times the price - in three months over the summer. Amazon aren't kings of the tech kingdom yet, not by a long shot.

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