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Summary:

Retail giant Target will be selling the Amazon Kindle in stores soon. The Kindle will initially be available in Minneapolis and stores in Florida, to be followed with more Target outlets selling the Kindle. The restricted roll-out may be a test to gauge interest.

Kindle books

Amazon lacks the one thing that most retail companies have, and that is a brick and mortar outlet. Some would say that having only an online store is an advantage, but that’s not necessarily the case when a company starts selling its own products, like the Kindle. Barnes & Noble stumbled out of the gate getting its own e-book reader, the Nook, into its retail stores, but it can be found there now by consumers who might want to touch one before buying it. There’s also a distribution deal with Best Buy to sell the Nook. Consumers like to try e-book readers prior to purchase, and that may be the driver behind the Amazon deal with Target, to sell the Kindle in select Target stores.

According to Target, the Kindle will initially be available in Minneapolis and stores in Florida, to be followed with more Target outlets selling the Kindle later.  The restricted roll-out may be a test by Target to gauge sales potential prior to the full launch, but Target has not stated that is the case.

It will be interesting to see how the general public reacts to the e-book reader. Amazon has likely sold quite a few Kindles online, but there are no hard numbers to indicate if the non-techie community is buying them. Having the Kindle in a mass market retailer like Target should give mainstream consumers good exposure to the technology, perhaps for the first time for many of them. It will be telling to see how the general public reacts to such hands-on exposure.

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

Irrational Exuberance Over E-Books?

  1. This would help them do battle with the mighty iPad but in the end the Kindle is doomed.

    If i was Steve i would counter this move by flooding Walmart with iPads. But since iPad is already a sellout they prolly couldn’t meet demand. Steve is too busy counting the the $3 billion and change he made last quarter to worry about a little thing called Kindle. :-)

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    1. Aren’t you comparing apples and oranges here?

      Kindle is an eBook reader where IPad is:
      An eBook reader without ebook reader benefits
      A tablet pc without tablet features
      A computer without computer features
      ….

      Ipad has its market, however from eBook point of view, at best it can be described as eBook reader for the confused.

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      1. I think you meant “an ebook reader without e-ink benefits.” There’s no definitional requirement that an ebook reader use e-ink technology, even if the most popular ones do.

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      2. How about ability to use your device everyday with a couple of weeks between charges?

        While there is no requirement for screen technology used, a display that is easy on the eyes and optimised for reading under varying conditions seem to be the main point of eBook readers.

        Here is an interesting link that provides some numbers:
        http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2010/03/05/e_book_buyers_favour_ipad/

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      3. I think what’s perhaps most telling in the link provided by Cherkazo is that the most widely anticipated activities were web browsing, email and e-book reading.

        The kindle (while I like it) just doesn’t cut it for the first two.

        While (personally) I prefer e-ink, I would love Amazon to take this as an invitation to step up their game.

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      4. If we are talking about iPad or other tablet devices, your conclusion is right. But it also means that, only 37% of potential iPad/Slate buyers are into book reading and in my opinion this indicates that we are talking about two different markets and device types.
        I am not very keen on Kindle because of the wireless features and shop connectivity. Therefore I am still using Sony one until a larger eReader with no compromise on the main features (Battery usage and display quality of EInk) comes to the market.
        But each technology has its uses and in my opinion none of them replaces each other. I still use a HD2 and Desire, I still use a Toshiba Tablet PC and still need powerful PCs at work and home. I use my EBook reader daily and when a suitable tablet / slate comes to the market with right resolution and flexibility, I would go for that as well without replacing any of the devices I use currently.
        More related to eReader users, you can see that in a market research about 93% of eReader owners were satisfied.
        http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2010/02/04/e_book_survey_npd/
        In my opinion, unless one sees an eReader device in action, that person will keep considering how a large mobile phone, Netbook or a tablet computer would be an alternative to EBook readers.
        But the moment they see an eReader under direct sunlight or how the display looks like, then they realise the relevance of the screen.
        Then again, for the masses it may not matter much as the man said “People don’t read anymore”

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      5. Sorry about the missing paragraphs.
        Paragraphs got lost in copy and paste operation.

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      6. I agree, particuarly with what you said about people not having seen this. I do think having them in retail stores will help to some extent, but for the longest while you couldn’t buy many of these outside the USA except for exorbitant prices.

        I also think that you’re right re: two distinct markets. The people who expressed an interest in ebook reading but also in the ipad are perhaps less interested in the ebook reading as the single explicit trait they’re looking for in the device and more in it as something “extra” that it could do at a pinch on top of the (previously mentioned) web + email.

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  2. I have both the Kindle and the Ipad. I have to say I love them both but for reading at home I would chose the Kindle over the Ipad. I find the Ipad to heavy to hold for any length of time. For traveling I’d take the Ipad because I would only need to take one device. I think that for people who really only want to read books the kindle will be the way to go, cheaper on the wallet and lighter.

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  3. 1) No price break

    2) Only selling the 6 inch version

    3) Failure

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  4. one advantage of all other readers over the Kindle (which i own & love) is that library systems are beginning to “check out” e-reader books for every reader except Kindle for FREE. This is a HUGE advantage & drawing feature for those who know about it. The books expire on your e-reader just like any paper/ink book would & patrons can renew the e-book just as they can with regular books.

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