Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Art of Kindle Forecasting: What's a $100mm between friends?

As noted in paidcontent Collins Stewart analyst Sandeep Aggarwal is predicting that revenues from Kindle sales will approximate $300mm this year and generate $70mm in profit. Even more he projects $1.6bill in revenues and $400mm in profit by 2012:
Aggarwal argues that sales of the Kindle grow almost 80 percent a year from ‘09 to ‘12, and that subscriptions will also jump as a result. (Amazon gets 70 percent of subscription revenue). Some 30 percent of Kindle owners subscribed to a service on the e-reader last year, a number that Aggarwal will grow to 75 percent in 2012 as more products are offered and the device becomes more mainstream.
Who's he arguing with? Maybe this guy from Piper Jaffray who suggests 2009 revenues of $405mm going up to over $1bill by 2010. What a nice growth curve that is. eMarketer goes on to note that analyst Mark Mahaney from Citibank believes 10% of all books sold in the 1Q 2009 were Kindle books. Impressive, but nontheless unknowable unless you are looking at real Amazon sales numbers and who is doing that?

Being eMarketer they go on to quote some stats on consumer purchasing. But surely some of these stats seem to undercut the basic tenants of the stratospheric growth:
Importantly, people are increasingly willing to try e-book readers.

Piper Jaffray found that 5% of consumers surveyed were interested in buying a digital book reader, and 9% were interested in buying one after a price drop. Nineteen percent of respondents had never seen a digital book reader but wanted to check one out.

US Consumers

I am not sure I could take anything meaningful from that set of results. The first question is a killer. We all know eBooks and eContent and devices are important but this 'analysis' is banker talk and look where that got us.

And another thing, there aren't that many $100mm publishing companies out there: Here we are just talking about the delta between these two forecasts.

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