Amazon sold how many copies of Eclipse!?

amazon_twilight_eclipse.jc.top.jpg By Stacy Cowley, tech editor


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Sorry, Twilight fans: Edward and Bella's latest cinematic adventure didn't actually sell 40 million copies this holiday season.

That's what Amazon implied in a press release it issued Monday, touting its holiday sales. But the eye-popping figure doesn't hold up.

"For the holiday time period alone, Amazon customers bought enough copies of Eclipse for Edward Cullen to watch the movie 1,000 times a day for all 109 years of his life," the company wrote.

CNNMoney ran the math on that claim: 1,000 x 365 days in a year x 109 years = a whopping 39.8 million DVDs. And that's not even counting the extra days in leap years.

When we called to fact-check, Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) backed off on its numbers.

'"The Amazon stat you inquired about this morning should've read 'year' not 'day,'" a company spokeswoman replied via e-mail.

Doing the math that way -- 1,000 viewings a year for 109 years -- nets a much more reasonable 109,000 Eclipse DVDs sold.

Amazon's other quirky claims pan out. Here's the math on them ...

"Amazon customers purchased enough snow/tire chains to outfit the entire population of three of America's top ski cities: Aspen, Breckenridge and Sun Valley."

Working off 2000 census figures, we get these population numbers:

Aspen: 5,914
Breckenridge: 2,408
Sun Valley: 1,427

So Amazon sold at least 9,749 snow & tire chains.

"Amazon customers purchased so many pairs of jeans that if you folded each pair and stacked them on top of each other, the height would be the equivalent of Mt. Everest."

This requires some guesstimating. What's the average height of a pair of folded jeans? Folded once or folded twice?

By happy coincidence, I have a pair of jeans under my desk. I folded it in half twice, the way one typically stores jeans, and measured at the midpoint. It's a touch shy of two inches.

Mount Everest's official height is 29,029 feet. That's 348,348 inches. Divide by 2 and we have just over 174,000 pairs of jeans.

"Amazon customers purchased enough Kyjen Hide-a-Squirrels to hide one toy squirrel everyday for the next 100 years."

Well, this one is easy. 1 squirrel x 365 days x 100 years = 36,500 toy squirrels -- plus another 25 for the leap-year days. So that's 36,525 lucky dogs this holiday season.

"Amazon customers purchased more Philips Norelco shavers this holiday season than the average beard hairs on a man's face."

This is like counting angels on the head of a pin. Hair-loss info site Keratin.com claims there's 7,000 - 15,000 hairs in an average beard; Godrej Shaving Cream's website claims the average is 30,000. No one is citing any sources.

So we'll say Amazon sold more shavers than snow chains -- but probably fewer shavers than Hide-a-Squirrels.

And no matter how you do the math, Eclipse DVDs trumped all else. To top of page

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