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Time Stands Still at Amazon.com

By Rick Munarriz - Updated Apr 5, 2017 at 7:56PM

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The clock on Kindles is broken at "11-13 weeks." 

Folks clamoring for Amazon.com's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle are out of luck if they want a new one directly from the company. The evolutionary e-book reader won't ship out for another 11-13 weeks, it says on the product's landing page.

Bummer. The Kindle is pretty cool and, after securing Oprah Winfrey's blessing two months ago, it could have given the netbook a run for its money as the "must have" gizmo.

However, shouldn't the wait be down to just seven to nine weeks now? The same "11-13 weeks" delay has been blaring from Amazon's site since the Kindle sold out days before the start of the holiday shopping season in late November.

Amazon is usually pretty efficient about updating its shipping estimates, so now is the time to pick your favorite conspiracy theory:

  • Supplier problems continue, and the February shipments are simply being bumped to March.
  • In a rare case of order within the chaos, shoppers are simply picking off advance orders at the same pace of production.
  • There is no shipment of first-generation Kindles coming. Amazon is just waiting long enough to release new and improved Kindles to avoid being flooded with returns of the original ones from disgruntled holiday shoppers.

Every theory is somewhat feasible, except the middle one. It was a supplier slowdown that forced Kindles to sell out last holiday season. The fact that we're simply waiting for Kindle 2.0 is a better theory, but Amazon is being tight-lipped about it.

This is a fiasco either way. Amazon may get a piece of the action on third-party sales for the device on its own site, but they are also being resold through sites like eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) and Craigslist. Amazon still benefits there -- because it mans the 200,000-item Kindle store delivering premium digital downloads -- but all of these old Kindles swapping owners are going to create problems in maintenance and managing the customer experience.  

The worst part is that the appetite for e-book readers may force holiday shoppers to consider Sony's (NYSE:SNE) rival device or a growing number of cheaper gadgets. Or, even worse, it could disillusion book lovers over the convenience of digital delivery, forcing them back into their local Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) or Borders (NYSE:BGP) to kick it old-school with real-world page turners.  

Is that what Amazon really wants? It should be on the horn right now, spilling the beans on all of the cool features that Kindle 2.0 will provide over the readily available Sony Reader or free Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) e-book reading apps.

Staying silent only feeds the conspiracy theories and the coffers of the competition.

This can't be what Amazon wants. Even if it all seems carefully orchestrated to stir up demand, why am I the only who feels that Amazon is whistling an unfinished concerto?

Stories that may have happier endings:

eBay is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. eBay, Amazon.com, and Apple are Stock Advisor recommendations. Borders used to be an Inside Value selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.  

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz finally bought his Kindle back in May. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Amazon.com, Inc. Stock Quote
Amazon.com, Inc.
AMZN
$142.10 (-1.85%) $-2.68
Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
AAPL
$174.55 (0.88%) $1.52
eBay Inc. Stock Quote
eBay Inc.
EBAY
$48.57 (-1.88%) $0.93
Barnes & Noble, Inc. Stock Quote
Barnes & Noble, Inc.
BKS
Sony Corporation Stock Quote
Sony Corporation
SONY
$87.16 (1.22%) $1.05
Borders Group, Inc. Stock Quote
Borders Group, Inc.
BGPIQ

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