Amazon.com is making its first brick-and-mortar retail move with its Kindle ereader—and the deal is with Target. Target has announced it will begin selling Kindle ereaders beginning April 25 for $259. Up until now, the Kindle readers have been available exclusively from Amazon, and the deal marks the first time Amazon is partnering with a traditional retailer to bring the Kindle to consumers.
The Kindle will initially go on sale at Target’s flagship store in Minneapolis along with over 100 locations in South Florida, with rollouts to additional Target locations in the United States later this year. The deal appears to apply only to Amazon’s 6-inch Kindle e-reader; the larger Kindle DX will still be available only from Amazon.
“Target’s reputation for excellence and value makes it the perfect fit for Kindle,” said Amazon Kindle senior VP Steve Kessel, in a statement. “We’re excited to work with them to bring readers around the country a new way to discover and buy Kindle, and with it, wireless access to a massive selection of over 500,000 books.”
The advantage of retail Kindle distribution for Amazon is that potential customers will be able to set hands on the e-reader before they buy. Talking up the benefits of an E-Ink display, the ability to carry around hundreds of books, and update subscriptions wirelessly is all well and good, but if the still market-dominating Kindle ereader wants to expand its market footprint, it’s going to need to reach consumers that haven’t so far been convinced by written descriptions or over-enthusiastic endorsements from Oprah. Putting a Kindle in a customer’s hands, even for a few minutes, might just do the trick.
Amazon has not announced if if plans to make deals with other retailers; nothing in the language announcing its deal with Target denotes the arrangement is exclusive.
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