Black Friday? More Like $Green$ Friday

The initial returns are in. Unit sales of Kindles were 4X higher over Black Friday this year versus 2010 – and certainly the Kindle Fire helped drive it.

A man with nice starched cuffs holds a Kindle Fire

Amazon’s Kindle Executives had good things to say: “Black Friday was the best ever for the Kindle family – customers purchased 4X as many Kindle devices as they did last Black Friday – and last year was a great year,” said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “In addition, we’re seeing a lot of customers buying multiple Kindles – one for themselves and others as gifts – we expect this trend to continue on Cyber Monday and through the holiday shopping season.”

I love it! Another trove of consumers are enabled and buying eBooks.

A more interesting tidbit is that multiple media outlets picked-up on the rumor that Amazon reportedly takes a loss on every Kindle Fire sold. I want to know, however, why so may media pundits see this as a bad thing. Maybe they have a special concern for Amazon’s balance sheet or see an article with nothing but good news as boring – I dunno. But I do know this: if it’s true, and I believe it is, then Amazon is subsidizing the Kindle Fire the same way that Sprint, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile subsidize mobile phones. C’mon, you don’t think a 4G touchscreen smartphone with more power than Apollo 11 or the laptop you owned in 1995 really sells for $149? Or, do you?

Let me step back and channel Gordon Gekko for a moment, “Subsidies are good. Subsidies are right. Subsidies enable, lower barriers, accelerate efforts to win consumers and drive the sale of content. Subsidies will save publishing and that broken entity called the United Stttttttttt…” Wait – America needs more than subsidies.

OK, I’m back. Where was I? Oh yeah, so a subsidized Kindle Fire provides two positive incentives for the eBook industry:

1) It incents consumers to get in the eBook game by lowering the entry price (a good thing)

2) It incents Amazon to market and merchandize content like crazy so they can turn a profit on each Kindle as soon as possible (a very good thing)

Except for Wall Street analysts and Amazon’s direct competitors, I don’t know for the life of me who would be upset. I’m sure not and neither are my stable of authors.