Kindle getting retail Best Buy presence

Posted by Mark Raby

In a move that could ignite a fire back under Amazon's e-reader brand, the Kindle is heading to Best Buy brick-and-mortar locations as well as the electronics retailer's online store in time for the holiday shopping season.

The move comes as Amazon faces increasingly mounted pressure from other companies in the e-reader market. Other bookstores have begun selling their own devices and Apple's iPad has taken a noted chunk of interest away from the dedicated reading device.

Amazon began a pilot program with Target earlier in the year, putting its highest-selling Kindle 2 model on shelves of all of that retailer's stores in 48 states.

Best Buy also sells Sony's Reader device as well as Amazon's most direct competitor, the Barnes & Noble Nook. So there's instant shelf space competition for shoppers at Best Buy, unlike Target where the Kindle has exclusivity.

However, Best Buy is the leading consumer electronics retail chain by far and getting a presence there can only spell out more sales for Amazon.

Of course, Amazon originally said the Kindle would only be sold directly through Amazon.com. It was a way for the company to radically reduce transportation and logistics costs as it entered the world of manufacturing in addition to its core business of just selling stuff.

But the e-reader market has become as fierce as anything else, which is leading to only good things for consumers. There's a wide selection of choices available now, and prices have fallen through the floor ever since Amazon started getting competition. The current Kindle 2 unit launched at $359, when it was making a gross margin of nearly 100%. Now it sells for $189, and a more bare-bones version is available for under $140.

Expect to start seeing the Kindle at your local Best Buy store, at the same price it's available on Amazon.com, in the coming weeks.