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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007, 11:58 GMT
Amazon Kindle sells out on debut
Jeff Bezos, Amazon (AP)
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos unveiled the Kindle device

Amazon's Kindle e-book reader has sold out despite scepticism about whether the device will prove popular.

A notice on the Kindle pages on the Amazon web store said "heavy customer demand" for the device meant it would be out of stock until 3 December.

Since its launch on 19 November the device has been widely examined but opinions about it are mixed.

It has won praise for being easy to use but many have criticised the way it forces people to pay for free content.

Reader reviews

The Kindle device was on sale on the retailer's store soon after Amazon boss Jeff Bezos unveiled it earlier this week. Within hours, reported gadget blog Engadget, the device had sold out prompting Amazon to add a message about stocks being replenished early next month.

So far, Amazon has not said how many Kindle gadgets were available at launch.

Despite this sales success reviews of Kindle on the Amazon site are divided. Overall the gadget has won a rating of 2.5 stars out of five from those who have spent time with it.

Many Amazon reviewers praised its easy to read screen and the size and heft of the device. Owners of it also like the inbuilt Amazon store and the ease with which they can load books and other documents on to it via the EVDO network of US carrier Sprint.

Amazon has remained tight-lipped on whether the gadget will be available outside North America.

But Kindle has won negative press from many other reviewers who were sharply critical of its price, the rights protection technology it used and the surcharges it adds if owners load their own documents on to it.

Joel Johnson, writing for BoingBoing, said the $400 (194) price tag was simply too high. He also criticised the cost of getting at blogs ($2 per month) newspapers ($15 per month) that can be had for free via the web.

Mr Johnson also wondered why Kindle did not support the widely popular PDF format.

Peter Ha writing for the gadget section of Tech Crunch was impressed by Kindle when he started using it but wondered whether it justified its high price.

Writing on his blog, Nicholas Carr, said the price and copy protections on content downloaded from Amazon were "deal-breakers" and declared that it had a "huge mountain to climb".

Kindle also has some established competition in the form of the Sony PRS 505 Reader, Bookeen Cybook V3 and the iRex Iliad. However, neither gadget has so far won significant success.

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