It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that the Kindle would be a hot seller in the fourth quarter. The combination of the holiday season and a new, lower priced device made it a certain hit. Kindle-thirdgen

But no one was expecting it to be this hot.

Amazon reports the latest incarnation of the eReader has already surpassed total fourth quarter 2009 sales. That’s astonishing, since the Kindle was one of last year’s hottest gifts – and it underscores exactly how hot the device has become.

“It’s still October and we’ve already sold more Kindle devices since launch than we did during the entire fourth quarter of last year – astonishing because the fourth quarter is the busiest time of year on Amazon,” said Steve Kessel, SVP of Amazon Kindle.

Not surprisingly, eBooks continue to be big sellers for the company as well. Over the past 30 days, sales of titles for the Kindle have topped the number of hardcover and paperback books Amazon has sold – combined. In the first three quarters, eBooks have sold three times more than they did during the same period in 2009