Amazon sent out a press release titled, "2011 is the Best Holiday Ever for Kindle" and looking at the numbers, it seems like a justified statement.
The company reports that there were over a million Kindle devices sold each week, with the Kindle Fire as the hottest item, the Kindle Touch following it up, and the plain old Kindle bringing up the rear."Kindle Fire is the #1 best-selling, most gifted, and most wished for product across the millions of items available on Amazon.com since its introduction 13 weeks ago," states Amazon. The company also notes that books to go on the devices were popular, with sales up 175% over last year, between Black Friday and Christmas Day. And of course Christmas Day was the biggest day for downloads as everyone unwrapped their new e-readers and began loading them up with titles.
So what does this mean for the environment? Well, nothing new, really. We've known for years that eventually, e-readers were going to gain ground over paper books. The lifecycle analysis comparisons show that as long as people keep their devices and read somewhere around 100 books, the devices have a similar carbon footprint to paper books. And e-reader owners do indeed read more than folks sticking with paper books -- er, at least they purchase more.
All said, the numbers are rather unsurprising. With e-readers being so convenient to carry around and travel with, as well as with publishers catering more to e-readers and tablet devices -- even to the point that schools are putting books on tablet devices and handing them over to kids -- it's no wonder that paper is being ousted by digital as the most popular way to consume stories and information. As for the environmental impact, as usual, it is as much up to the owners of the gadgets as the manufacturers to ensure they have as minimal a footprint as possible.