December 27, 2010, 1:42 PM

Amazon’s Kindle slays Harry Potter

The Kindle e-reader becomes the online retailer’s best-selling item ever.

Lead Photo

The young English wizard has fallen, his position usurped by the public’s growing love of the digital book.

Amazon.com said today that the third generation of its Kindle electronic reader has become the bestselling product in the history of the world’s largest online retailer. The latest version of the Kindle took over the top spot from the seventh volume of the Harry Potter book series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

Alas, Amazon, in keeping with its ancient tradition, did not release sales figures. Colin Sebastian, an analyst for Lazard Capital Markets, estimates that Amazon has sold more than 5 million copies of the Harry Potter book since its release in 2007. Sebastian says that price cuts earlier this year for Kindle likely sparked sales of those devices.

Kindle readers also were the best-selling products on Amazon.com for the 2010 holiday season, the retailer said. And those Kindle readers turned to Scandinavian noir late last week, making “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” a Swedish mystery, the most-purchased Kindle book on Christmas Day.

Peak holiday shopping at Amazon took place on Nov. 29, the Monday after Thanksgiving that is often called Cyber Monday. Shoppers from around the world ordered more than 13.7 million products, which translates into 158 items per second. “This is a reversal from prior years when online sales peaked in mid-December,” Sebastian says, adding that the earlier peak day is consistent with broader online selling data.

Other Amazon factoids released today include:

• Sundays during the holiday season were the busiest shopping days for mobile shoppers using iPads, iPhones and devices that run on Android operating systems.

• BlackBerry users, however, were most active on Fridays.

• The most popular toys sold through Amazon this holiday season were Scrabble Flash Cubes, the Qwirkle board game and the Lego Ultimate Building Set.

• Shoppers around the world apparently fancy themselves animators, as Anime Studio Debut 7, technology that helps consumers make digital art on their home computers, was among the most popular items of software sold during the holiday season.

Android-backed mobile devices took the top three spots in wireless phone sales on Amazon, which is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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