Giant online retailer Amazon.com announced Monday that the latest version of its popular Kindle e-reader has become the top-selling item in the company’s history — surpassing the previous champ,Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7).

On Christmas Day, Amazon said, more people activated new Kindles and bought more e-books than on any other day in the company’s history. Kindle (Wi-Fi) and Kindle 3G devices were the best-selling products on Amazon this holiday season, the company said.
Amazon Kindle
As usual, Amazon did not say exactly how many Kindles the company has sold, but Forrester Research’s James McQuivey has estimated that by the end of the year, Amazon will have sold about 6 million units.

Company CEO Jeff Bezos did use the occasion to take a veiled shot at those who said that fancier tablet computers like Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Android-powered Galaxy Tab — which are much more expensive than Kindles and offer more features — would crush Amazon’s signature e-reader. Not even one year ago, tech pundits were predicting Kindle’s demise at the hands of iPad.

“Customers report using their LCD tablets for games, movies and web browsing, and their Kindles for reading sessions,” Bezos said in a statement. “They report preferring Kindle for reading because it weighs less, eliminates battery anxiety with its month-long battery life, and has the advanced paper-like Pearl E Ink display that reduces eyestrain, doesn’t interfere with sleep patterns at bedtime, and works outside in direct sunlight, an important consideration, especially for vacation reading.”

“Kindle’s $139 price point is a key factor — it’s low enough that people don’t have to choose,” Bezos added.
To be sure, Monday’s announcement is almost entirely self-serving on the part of Bezos and Amazon, but you have to give the company some credit for managing to withstand the onslaught of smartphones and tablets that pose competitive threats to the Kindle.

The simple fact is, the product is a hit.

Ben Schachter, an analyst with Macquarie Research, believes that Amazon is poised to continue its strong performance.

“Amazon has rewarded the bulls and confounded the bears for years,” Schachter wrote in a recent note to clients, in which he initiated coverage of the company with an “Outperform” rating. “Through it all, very few would argue that the company’s execution has been anything other than remarkable. Even fewer would argue that the secular shift of retail to online from offline will abate.”

Schachter has a $205 price target on the stock, which closed trading Monday at $182.14.

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