Amazon's Kindle device out of stock

Despite early skepticism on the part of observers about the looks and marketability of the e-reader, consumers seem to be giving it the thumbs up.

Despite much skepticism--and some downright harsh criticism--on the part of observers about the looks and marketability of Amazon's Kindle electronic book reader, consumers seem to be giving it the thumbs up.

Kindle gallery

The device, which the retailer started selling Monday for $399, quickly sold out, "due to heavy customer demand," according to Amazon. It will be in stock on December 7, and customers are instructed to order now "to reserve your place in line."

(Thanks to Engadget for bringing the sellout to our attention, and further noting that it's still unknown just how many devices Amazon has actually sold.)

With the Kindle, Amazon is hoping to succeed where hardware companies like Sony have failed. No e-book reader has ever been a market success.

The device weighs 10.3 ounces and uses "electronic ink" technology to mimic paper, with no backlight. The screen is black and white, for now anyway; Amazon executives have confirmed that E Ink, which manufactures the screen technology for Kindle as well as for other e-book readers like the Sony Reader, has a prototype of a color display.

The Kindle's battery will last several days to a week, company representatives have said, and, as shipped, it will hold about 200 books.

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