Kindle Fire black market blooms

Michelle Clancy | 03-09-2012

Amazon has sold out of Kindle Fire e-readers, a week ahead of a media event in Santa Monica, Calif., where it is expected to unveil the next generation Kindle. Accordingly, there is apparently a black market blooming in the meantime, with third-party sellers offering the gadget for as much as $999 on Amazon's retail site.

The Kindle Fire goes for a $199 list price and adds tablet functionality to its core e-reader purpose. It accounts for 22% of tablet sales in the U.S., according to Amazon, and 4.2% globally, according to HIS Inc.
It was designed to be video-friendly: Amazon bundles media-consumption perks like a free month of video streaming through Amazon Prime and apps for a range of video offerings. But with Apple perhaps launching a cheaper, smaller, Kindle-sized version of the iPad soon, Amazon would be wise to bulk up the high-value video and entertainment aspects of the next version, perhaps offering a camera, video chat and other integrations to bring it on par with the competition.
"We're grateful to the millions of customers who have made Kindle Fire the most successful product launch in the history of Amazon," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO in a statement, but he pointed to an "exciting roadmap ahead."