Following on from last year’s unexpected partnership with Waterstones that saw Kindles sold in the chain’s brick and mortar stores, Amazon has now announced that it will make its e-readers available for sale in independent bookshops in the USA. Amazon Source offers two different packages for physical retailers: a ‘general retail program’ aimed at consumer electronics shops (i.e. markets more interested in hardware than software) that offers Kindle devices at a 9% discount from their suggested retail price and accessories at a 35% discount, and a ‘bookseller program’, which only offers a 6% discount on the price of hardware but keeps the 35% discount on accessories and adds 10% commission on every e-book bought by customers from Kindles bought at the bookseller’s shop.
Amazon says of the latter: ‘This program allows you to give your customers a choice between digital and physical books, offer them access to a wide selection of e-books, and profit from every e-book they buy on their new device, from your store or on the go.’ The scheme will be made available in 24 of the 50 US states (including North Dakota but not South Dakota, so prepare for cries of ‘suck it, Mount Rushmore!’ emanating from the greater Fargo area).
Amazon’s vice president of Kindle, Russ Grandinetti, released the following statement on the deal: ‘We believe that retailers, online or offline, small or large, should be striving to offer customers what they want—and many customers want to read both digital and print books. For many years, bookstores have successfully sold print books on Amazon—now Amazon Source extends this opportunity to digital. With Amazon Source, customers don’t have to choose between e-books and their favorite neighborhood bookstore—they can have both.’
Interestingly, retailers will not be bound to exclusivity as part of the deal, and will be allowed to sell rival e-readers. Amazon apparently thinks ‘it’s great for customers to be able to compare devices side by side.’