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Best Buy To Sell Amazon Kindle

With Barnes & Noble's Nook, Sony's Reader and Amazon's Kindle on its shelves, the nation's largest consumer electronics retailer is expected to be an important battle ground for e-reader supremacy.

Amazon Kindle
(click image for larger view)
Amazon Kindle
Best Buy, the nation's largest consumer electronics retailer, plans to start selling Amazon.com's Kindle in the fall, placing the electronic reader side-by-side with competitors in time for the holiday shopping season.

Best Buy said Thursday that it will display all the e-readers it carries at the end of aisles to let customers compare the products. When the Kindle hits store shelves, it will join Barnes & Noble's Nook and Sony's Reader. Best Buy carries all three models of the Reader, the Touch, Pocket and Daily editions.

The retailer plans to carry the Wi-Fi-only Kindle and the 3G/Wi-Fi versions, which cost $140 and $190, respectively. The Nook has similar models that are about $10 more expensive. However, Sony is the most expensive, with its latest models ranging from $180 to $250.

While Amazon.com and B&N have recently slashed prices, Sony has adopted a strategy of charging more for what it claims is better technology, particularly its touch screen. With all three vendors in Best Buy, the retailer is likely to become the testing ground for the vendors' e-reader sales strategies.

Best Buy acknowledged the coming battle, saying it would benefit customers. "Our goal is to help people choose the device that's right for them by providing the broadest selection of popular e-readers of any retailer, in one convenient place that enables people to easily see, touch, try and buy," Chris Homeister, senior VP and general manager of home entertainment at Best Buy, said in a statement.

While the three readers have feature differences, they essentially have the same core function, which is to enable people to download books, magazines and newspapers and read them on a black-and-white, digital paper display from E Ink. The high-contrast screen is as close as technology gets to actual paper.

As booksellers, Amazon.com and B&N are focused on getting their devices in the hands of consumers, so they can buy content from the vendors' respective stores. Both offer free 3G connections to their online stores.

The strategy appears to be working for Amazon.com. The company in July reported that unit sales of e-books surpassed that of hardcover books. However, in terms of revenue, the latter is likely ahead, because physical books are much more expensive.

Later in the year, Best Buy said it will also sell Amazon's Kindle DX, which has 9.7-inch E Ink display, much larger than the six-inch screen in the standard Kindle. The DX costs $290 on Amazon.com.

FURTHER READING:

Amazon Kindle Hits Record Sales

Amazon Kindle 2.5 Adds Social Networking

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