Kindle’s arrival makes Best Buy the locus of e-readers
The Kindle’s presence in Best Buy stores—at the moment—is limited to demo units on display and other units off-display for training employees. The fact that Best Buy is devoting some time for training suggests, as we speculated earlier, that many locations will offer a consolidated e-reader display. Here, though perhaps not with the intense guidance of Barnes and Noble employees on the Nook stations, consumers can examine Kindle, Nook, Sony’s various offerings, and—presumably—even the LCD-based iPad.
The implication a few days ago was that the arrival of Kindles would be some time yet, but the quick rollout will allow Amazon to make the most of its recent price cut—Wi-Fi only and 3G models both are $10 less than their Nook equivalents. Jeff Bezos is also probably eager to get e-readers in public view long before what may be the biggest holiday season for the devices yet. Many consumers who were once skeptical—either on price or functionality—can now decide for themselves.
Earlier this month, Amazon had faced overwhelming consumer demand—resulting in the entire Kindle 3 line going on back-order. The popular graphite Wi-Fi and 3G model is still listed for a September 22nd ship date, but the white version of that model—and both colors of the Wi-Fi only—are now back in stock. Considering the Kindle’s imminent arrival at Best Buy, it seems likely that the ramp up to sequester models for delivery to the retailer’s shelves created the supply disruption.
The Engadget report places full retail availability at Best Buy sometime this coming week. No notice, however, has been given on the Best Buy website to confirm that report. In fact, with the exception of a few accessories for the Kindle, there’s no mention of the device at all on the retail side of the site.
Stay tuned for further developments, particularly the customer service experience (or lack thereof, if it ends up being the case) provided by Best Buy. Will the retailer be able to capitalize on its unique position, or will the Kindle flop again outside of Amazon’s own webstore?