Observations from the Publisher
Amazon’s decision to sell the Kindle in Target was the last puzzle piece in their marketing strategy to successfully compete against Barnes and Noble’s Nook, Sony’s ebook reader and other readers available in stores. Now the playing field for the major ebook readers has been flattened.
What will ensue on an explosive level is a battle for market share and the only strategy left is an ebook price war and lower device prices. The major publishers who thought they had won the ebook pricing war with the iPad will be whining again as the price of ebooks will fall as the major ebook distributors with devices vie for market share.
The collateral benefit of the war will be a win for consumers because the price of these devices will also drop as the price of ebooks eventually stabilizes to the market’s acceptable level.
After speculation and rumor, Target has at last confirmed that it will sell Amazon’s Kindle in its bricks and mortar stores. It will cost the same $260 as Amazon would charge you, but you at least get to try before you buy, and you don’t have to wait for the mailman to show up.
And this is likely the whole point. The e-reader market has shifted from early adopters to the mainstream, and if you want to interest people like my mother in buying a brand-new kind of device, you’ll have to put it in their hands first. Us gadget freaks may be happy to pre-order $500 devices without even seeing them, but we’re the weirdos here.
The Kindle will be available in “select” Target stores from this Sunday. In reality, this means the flagship store in Minneapolis plus another 102 stores in South Florida. Putting the Kindle in real stores will also showcase it against the iPad (although not in the same store of course – iPad is currently in Best Buy only, which also sells the Nook), which is going to prove the main rival for the Kindle.
It’s an unusual move by Amazon, though, especially as it pioneered the idea of trustworthy online shopping. It’s also proof that the online retailer is willing to take a cut in profits to push its hardware, despite the availability of Kindle software on most modern platforms.
Target Stores to Sell Kindle [Businesswire]