Why Is Amazon So Secretive About Numbers?

In 2010, Amazon had another great year for Kindle sales. In fact, it was the best one yet, and the company came out and said that the Kindle was the best selling product in Amazon’s history. Still they wouldn’t say how many they sold. Instead they let us with a puzzling factoid that Kindles have sold better than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7).

Freelance writer Kevin Kelleher called out Amazon today in a blog today titled, “Why won’t Amazon say how many Kindles it’s sold?” In the piece, Kelleher points out the weird nature of the Kindle versus Harry Potter factoid: “What Amazon does say is that the third generation of the Kindle surpassed even the number of Harry Potter 7 books it sold. Which is kind of disingenuous because Kindles are sold primarily through Amazon, while Harry Potter books are available in nearly every bookstore. But it does offer a hint: Some 5 million copies of Harry Potter have sold on Amazon since 2007, one analyst estimates.”

We have seen varying estimates for how many Kindles Amazon has actually sold. Bloomberg reported that Amazon is likely to sell 8 million in 2010, while many analysts predicted that they would sell 5 million. As Kelleher points out: “Either number is impressive, so why doesn’t Amazon share it?” We couldn’t agree more.

Perhaps Amazon’s New Year’s resolution should be to be a bit more open.