The folks over at Bloomberg Muse are talking about ads asking up to $1500 for the Kindle, Version One:
“People who want to give it as a holiday gift have to pay a premium to get it in time,” said Bird, 27, a salesman for an Internet company in Redwood City, California. “If the existing one can be sold at a profit and I can buy the new version when it comes out in two or three months, then it’s worth the effort.”I have to wonder how many potential Kindle sales are being lost to frustrated consumers who settle for the Sony eBook reader (or some other brand of reader), how many spur-of-the-moment sales are being lost forever as people get the time to reconsider their urge to own an electronic book reader at all, and how those paying a premium for the Kindle will feel when they find next year that the new and improved Kindle is available at its regular price.
Stoked by an Oprah Winfrey endorsement in October, the Kindle quickly sold out. With Christmas a week away, used Kindles are listed on EBay, Craigslist and Amazon.com’s second- hand product site for as much as $1,500.
The run on Kindles ambushed Amazon.com, which had expected to have enough supply for the rest of the year. As the retailer struggles to get more in stock, it’s asking buyers to join a three-month waiting list. While the shortage risks alienating shoppers and leaving some sales on the table, the Kindle’s buzz may pay off in 2009.
“It’s a great position to be in, given the uncertainty of the economy,” said Bryan Eshelman, managing director at Alix Partners LP, a retail consulting firm. “Could they have ended up with more inventory of this, and therefore, more sales in this time period? Sure. But in this economy, I don’t fault its strategy.”