Amazon.com's Kindle e-reader will debut in all Target stores June 6, creating a new bricks-and-mortar sales channel for the device. According to a June 2 Reuters report, the Kindle will retail for $259.
The broader rollout implies that Target's more limited Kindle offering, which started in late April, proved a success. For Amazon, having a retail outlet to complement its online offerings could allow it to compete more heartily against not only Barnes & Noble's Nook, but also the Apple iPad.
Despite being dismissed as a niche product by analysts in 2009, e-readers evolved into a bestseller by that year's holiday season, with the Kindle squaring off against the Nook for shoppers' recession-squeezed dollars. Following that success, a number of smaller manufacturers unveiled their own e-readers at January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but none seems to have acquired the same degree of traction in the market as the Kindle, which benefits from Amazon's multimillion-dollar marketing muscle.
That was before Apple revealed the iPad, which sold 2 million units in the two months following its April 3 rollout. During a May 25 shareholders' meeting, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos suggested that the Kindle's strategy for battling the iPad would be to emphasize the e-reader experience.
"The Kindle will compete with these LCD devices like the iPad by being a very focused product," Bezos told his audience, according to The Wall Street Journal. "Serious readers are going to want a purpose-built device because it's an important activity for them."
But Amazon has also chosen to focus on promoting Kindle software for other devices, including PCs and Android-based smartphones. Recent updates to its free Kindle for PC application include a full-screen reading mode and the ability to edit notes and marks, change background color, and adjust screen brightness. Kindle software leverages Amazon's Whispersync technology to synchronize notes, bookmarks, and last page read between a user's PC, smartphone and Kindle device.
For its part, Barnes & Noble announced a retail-channel deal in April with Best Buy to not only sell the device, but port the bookseller's own e-reader software onto the retailer's PCs and smartphones. Barnes & Noble's most recent software update includes a beta Web browser and Android-based games, suggesting the company's ultimate strategy is to diversify the device's features as opposed to focusing tightly on the e-reader experience.