Did you get a Kindle for Christmas? I did. And apparently so did millions of other people.
Amazon reported Thursday that it had the best holiday season ever for its Kindle e-readers. The online e-commerce giant didn't offer specific sales figures, but it did offer a few tidbits of information. Throughout December, the company sold well over 1 million Kindle devices per week. The Kindle products were also the hottest selling products on Amazon's site throughout the holiday season. Amazon's new tablet, the Kindle Fire, was the No. 1 product on the site. And the new Kindle Touch and the regular Kindle took the No. 2 and No. 3 spots respectively.
Amazon also said that the Kindle Fire has been the best-selling, most-gifted, and most wished for product of its entire stock of products, since the device was introduced 13 weeks ago.
Amazon said Kindle sales were not only strong in the U.S., but they also topped the charts on its international sites as well. The Kindle was also the best-selling product during the holiday season on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.es, and Amazonit.
Authors of e-books also had a strong holiday season. Amazon reported that Christmas Day was the biggest day for e-book downloading. And gifting of e-books was up 175 percent compared to last year. The company also touted the success of its self-publishing program, Kindle Direct Publishing. Amazon said that the No. 1 and No. 4 best-selling Kindle books released in 2011 were each published independently by authors using KDP.
"We are grateful to our customers worldwide for making this the best holiday ever for Kindle," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder and CEO. "And in a huge milestone for independent publishing, we'd also like to congratulate Darcie Chan, the author of 'The Mill River Recluse,' and Chris Culver, the author of 'The Abbey,' for writing two of the best-selling Kindle books of the year."
Amazon's success with the Kindle this holiday season is another indication that the company has hit a sweet spot in terms of pricing. The Kindle Fire, which is a tablet and not just an e-reader, costs $200. While the Kindle Fire doesn't match more expensive tablets, such as the Apple iPad, in functionality it is offering consumers an alternative at a lower price point that many more people can afford.
The same is true of the new Kindle Touch, which at $99 with special offers appears to hit a price point that many consumers are comfortable with. Amazon also sweetened the deal on Kindle e-readers for consumers by including free book downloads for its Amazon Prime members. The Amazon Prime membership not only gives Amazon shoppers free two-day shipping on thousands of products, but it also offers free video streaming of certain titles and now it offers a lending library that provides free access to some books.