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Kindle kicks Harry Potter out of top-selling spot on Amazon

December 27, 2010 |  9:25 am

Kindle_light
The newest Kindle is the biggest-selling product on Amazon's network of sites worldwide, the online retailer announced Monday. The e-reader moved past "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the seventh and final book in the series by J. K. Rowling, to become Amazon's bestselling item ever.

That news was not as straightforward as it seems. Amazon, unlike other electronics manufacturers, does not release sales numbers for its device. In response to Jacket Copy's request for actual numbers of how many Kindles were sold, an Amazon representative replied that the company does not release those numbers "for competitive reasons."

The company did confirm that the Kindle isn't just bestselling worldwide, but in the U.S. too. There have been millions sold.

But it sparks another dance of guess-the-sales-numbers, which happens every time Amazon makes a sales announcement that lacks sales figures. Are they bigger than a breadbox? Are they smaller than the Icelandic economy?

Maybe Scholastic, which published the Harry Potter books, can make a guestimate.

In the days before Christmas, some analysts guessed that sales might exceed estimates, based on "two people who are aware of the company's sales projections." The figure they threw out was 8 million for the year. But exactly how many Kindles have been sold is a mystery.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Amazon's latest iteration of the Kindle. Credit: Amazon.com/Reuters 

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