The Macalope Daily: Reading is fun-duh-mental

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The normally reticent-to-release-sales-figures Amazon provided a small look into how well the Kindle is selling the other day, and though the Kindle is a platform largely dedicated to reading, press releases about it don’t seem to be improving reading comprehension.

Because when Amazon reported that it had shipped one million Kindle devices, many outlets reported it as one million Kindle Fires. It’s an interesting case study in how wrongness is like a butterfly, yearning to be free, and how it will not be held by your cages of fact.

Phil Hornshaw of Appolicious (tip o’ the antlers to Shawn King) had originally misreported Amazon’s sales numbers not once but twice, because TechCrunch’s Matt Burns misreported it. (Phil quickly corrected his pieces after the Macalope pointed out the error.)

TechCrunch’s Burns had since corrected the numbers, but the piece still proceeds from the assumption that Kindles are the bee’s knees while iPads are the parts of the bee we don’t speak of, assuming bees have such parts.

At its current rate of a million units sold per week, the Kindle family is actually outpacing the iPad’s post-launch sales rate.

Well, yes, but it’s not like that should be too surprising since a) the Kindle is a family of devices that are all cheaper than the iPad, b) the device was launched during the holiday season, and c) it’s the iPad that has made tablets a product that people consider buying.

Also, Burns has no idea how well iPads are selling right now. Apple sold about 855,000 iPads a week last quarter, and it generally sees an uptick during the current quarter. So there’s a very good chance the company is in fact selling more iPads right now than Amazon is selling Kindles.

In fairness to Burns…well, the Macalope’s not really sure why we should bend over backwards to be fair to Burns, frankly. Let’s just pretend he did us a solid somehow. Maybe by loaning us a fiver when we were down and out, or helping us move when no one else would, or strangling that man in Corpus Christi who laughingly suggested our melons were not the freshest, back when we angrily sold melons in Corpus Christi.

So, in mock fairness to Burns, he wasn’t the only one to report it as “1 million Kindle Fires.” And those yahoos haven’t even realized their error.

You know, if one were cynical, one might think that Amazon deliberately worded the press release that way, so as to muddy the waters. But surely Amazon wouldn’t stoop to any kind of greasy marketing tactics in its attempt to compete with the iPad.

Surely not.

[Editors’ Note: Each week the Macalope skewers the worst of the week’s coverage of Apple and other technology companies. In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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