Kindle Coming to Target

This time it is based on a snapshot of Target's inventory system. What the inventory seems to show is that the 6-inch Amazon Kindle is coming to Target stores starting on April 25, 2010. The Kindle will be sold for the same price as that found in its online store: $239.00.

In the usual Amazon way, the company is mum on the subject. When asked about the Kindle-Target report, Drew Herdener, spokesman for Amazon, answered, "we don't comment on rumors or speculation."

We will know by the end of the month if Amazon is really taking the fight to brick and mortar stores. How important is it for eBook readers to have a retail presence?

Accenture surveyed 3000 consumers in 18 countries. The results show that 75% of consumers prefer going to a physical retail store to purchase a communications product or service. 77% said it is important for mobile service providers to have a physical store they can visit. More than 56% bought their mobile devices or phone service plan at their provider's retail store the past year.

The survey also shows that the top 2 reasons consumers prefer going to a physical store is to purchase a new product or service (65%), and to learn how to use a new product service (31%). There's no argument that Amazon's Kindle is a success. Even without a retail presence, Amazon managed to sell eReader units in the millions and become the top player in the eReader market.

Without a retail presence, however, the company may have been missing the 75% of consumers who prefer getting their devices from physical stores.

Barnes & Nobles has some Nook in its physical retail stores and, starting April 18, will also have their eReader at Best Buy stores. Consumers are lining up at Apple stores to get their iPad.

Amazon may want to close the retail gap by getting some Kindle to Target.

1. Retail stores can help get eReaders into the hands of consumers, particularly those who have still issues or qualms buying online.

2. Kindle will gain more visibility. People will get to see the Kindle, try it out, and see for themselves the benefits its offers. People will get to see for themselves how it compares to other eReaders or tablets. It may even encourage impulse buyers to buy.

3. People get to see for themselves the strengths of the device. Sometimes, what's reported (or not reported about) it can influence people to buy or not buy devices. If consumers get to test the product themselves, they'd be able to form their own opinions and make their buying decisions based on their experience with the product.

Closing thought

Apple could have been contented with an online store. Instead, it went to establish - and become one of the most successful - retail presences around the world. Can Amazon replicate Apple's success?

The growing competition from multipurpose devices may have inspired Kindle, and it's processor, the Kindle 3 to spread its wings. What remains to be seen is whether a retail presence will lead to an increase in Kindle sales.

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