Amazon.com's Kindle electronic reader has come a long way since its late 2007 debut was met with mixed reviews, some derisive. Who could forget the moment at last year's Le Web Conference in Paris, when legendary designer Philippe Starck sniffed (BusinessWeek.com, 12/20/07), "It's a pity. It's almost modern." The audience erupted into laughter.
Amazon (AMZN) is laughing now. The Kindle, a device that lets people download, store, and of course read books in a digital format, could become a $1.1 billion business for the company next year, accounting for 4% of sales, according to a widely read Aug. 11 note by Citigroup (C) analyst Mark Mahaney.