Amazon Opens Up on Kindle Sales, Says "Millions" Sold This Holiday Season has sold “millions” of new Kindles in the first 73 days of the holiday quarter, according to the Kindle team, which was caught thanking customers in an online forum today.

That’s as close as the Seattle-based e-commerce company has come to revealing its sales numbers–ever.

In the past, it’s spoken in broad strokes, claiming that the device was “the fastest selling ever” or that the “Kindle is far and away our bestselling gift item.”

CEO Jeff Bezos also predicted that sales of electronic books will surpass paperback sales by next summer or fall, and sometime after that they will surpass the combination of paperback and hardcover sales.

Truth be told, that’s likely the more important figure for Amazon, rather than hardware sales. With an app virtually on every portable device, including the iPad and several smartphones, its electronic book distribution reaches way beyond the number of Kindles in the wild.

However, with increasing competition from Apple’s iPad and other devices, like the Barnes & Noble’s Nook, there’s still plenty of competition.

For context, the Kindle team says the number of Kindles sold this holiday season is more than the number sold in all of 2009. The sales figures were first mentioned and reported by Daring Fireball.

In September, Barclays’ Douglas Anmuth guessed that Amazon will sell about five million Kindles this year with the help of the latest redesign and more appealing $139 to $189 price points.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus