The leading online retailer understands the opportunity and urgency of the moment. (NASDAQ:AMZN) issued a press release last night, in which it announced that it's offering free, two-day expedited shipping on orders of its popular Kindle e-book reader. It also revealed that the device just broke its monthly sales record.

The last point is a somewhat hollow claim. Amazon has never revealed actual sales metrics, so it's as if CEO Jeff Bezos merely said he ate at the best sushi restaurant last night. Unless we know how many sushi joints he's checked out over the years, the praise lacks context.

Amazon's last-minute push, with its free expedited shipping offer, is noteworthy, though. The e-tailer realizes that it essentially has the market cornered this holiday season. Barnes & Noble's (NYSE:BKS) Nook is running into supply-chain problems, and although Sony's (NYSE:SNE) Reader has the tenure and the pedigree, it's just lacking the buzz.

Amazon knows that it has to push as many Kindle devices into gift boxes this month as possible, because 2010 promises to be far more competitive. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) appear ready to dive into the tablet market next year, when they're likely to introduce a new way for book buffs to consume the written word.

Kindle broke new ground in 2007 and educated the marketplace in 2008, and 2009 appears to be the year of market-share grab. It will only get harder from here for the $259 device, especially if flashy tablets or a critic-pleasing Nook update force buyers into considering all of the potential e-book devices available.

Live it up, Amazon. This may be the Kindle's last big feast.

Will Amazon be more popular in 2010 than it is right now? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been shopping online for about as long as has been in business. He owns a Kindle, but he doesn't own shares in any of the companies in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.