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A report circulating at the moment, and being extensively quoted, from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), gives the research company’s lowdown on the status of the Kindle market, based on a survey of 300 “US customers of Amazon.com from the three-month period ending November 15, 2013.” Without accurate numbers from Amazon itself, this is one of the most valuable data snapshots of actual Kindle use and spending – and its implications for Amazon and the book business.

CIRP calculated that the Amazon Kindle platform in the US has “an installed base of approximately 20.5 million units, as of September 30, 2013. Amazon Kindle device owners account for 40% of all Amazon buyers.” Furthermore, said , “we estimate that Amazon Kindle device owners spend approximately $1,233 per year, compared to $790 per year for other customers. They do so because Kindle device owners buy over 50% more frequently than other customers.”

Policies such as Amazon’s newly-announced installment plan for purchase of the Kindle Fire HDX make a great deal more sense in this context. Even at the $379.00 purchase price of the larger size HDX, the Kindle is a machine for minting money for Amazon. For users of the cheaper devices, the metrics are even more in Amazon’s favor – plus, the more expensive multimedia devices will encourage consumption of more expensive content. And critics who brand this kind of pricing as anti-competitive might care to reflect that most mobile phones in the world are sold on carrier contracts with a similar rationale.

With, as Mike Levin, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP, says, the Kindle acting as “a portal to Amazon.com,” Amazon’s basic business case for creating the Kindle has been comprehensively made. And authors and publishers who produce Kindle/Mobi ebooks can be comfortably reassured that eager readers will be paying out for their wares hand over fist. At 20.5 million units with an average of $1,233 each spent through them, we’re talking about just under $2.53 billion spent by Kindle users on content alone. That should account for quite a few ebook sales.

 

 
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