Got a light?… Just as The Bookseller’s Philip Jones was aptly saying that the publishing industry is “looking at its market by candlelight,” I was reminded that, in fact, book publishing isn’t the only industry suffering this problem:
Amazon never releases sales figures for any of the hardware it builds, but that isn’t stopping others from making their best guesses as to how many units Amazon has sold of the new Fire Phone.
The latest estimate for the Fire Phone, which debuted July 25, pegs sales at no more than 35,000 during its first 25 days on the market — that’s nearly one for every four employees currently working at the e-commerce giant.
That’s Tricia Duryee at GeekWire, in Amazon Fire Phone sales estimated at 35,000 — equal to just 25% of employee base. And she’s wrestling with one of those no-sales-data instances that end up putting Seattle in a dim light of its own. What can be seen “on the surface,” as it were, is not encouraging, as she explains:
Two weeks after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled the device, I noticed the Amazon Fire Phone plummeted to the 61st best-selling electronic, far below its fourth-place position on June 18. As of today, it no longer makes the 100 top-selling list at any position.
Duryee does, however, take the trouble to include the Amazonian rationale for its silent treatment when it comes to sales numbers:
Amazon does not talk about sales is because it believes in focusing on a much longer time frame. At least, that’s what Amazon Kindle VP Ian Freed implied in an interview following the June 18 unveiling. He told GeekWire: “We are in this as like we would be in any multi-year, multi-decade business. That’s the way Amazon thinks about things.”
Yes, understood and even appreciated, the long view peculiar to the way Amazon’s success has been built. But satisfying or helpful? Not when you’re left with guesswork and missing detail while trying to understand and evaluate an industry.
Midas PR’s Chris McCrudden touches on the reportage issue with Amazon, as well, in his The profit margin of error piece at Medium, writing on how Amazon reports its numbers to market:
It breaks its revenues down into three general buckets: media, merchandise and other. This makes it difficult to determine which operations make and lose money for Amazon. We just have to assume that some bits of Amazon are crazily profitable, but that it uses these profits to subsidise new ventures as they mature and distract attention from those initiatives that don’t catch fire — like the Fire Phone, for example.
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By Porter Anderson | @Porter_Anderson
The FutureBook: A Dim View Of Missing Books Data
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