Sources have recently reported that Amazon may be about to open up a whole new direction for their Kindle marketing. Before the end of this year we can expect to be seeing the first small store or stores arriving in Seattle. This seems to be intended as a preliminary effort directed at determining the viability of such outlets as a real money maker, but there is some reason to think that this could be a big factor in the future of both the Kindle and Amazon’s new publishing imprints.
With Barnes & Noble’s recent decision to effectively ban all of Amazon’s new efforts in the field of publishing, the company is going to be needing new ways to showcase their products. These boutique style stores would offer them the chance to make up for the lack, especially as it seems likely that their intention is to increase their involvement in publication rather than let it fall away under external pressures.
While it seems less likely, given that focus will probably be at least somewhat important, there is even the chance that this will be Amazon’s biggest move so far to show off their product lines in various other areas aside from books and eReaders. Their AmazonBasics consumer electronics line has at least some connection to things like the Kindle Fire, even if their Strathwood furniture wouldn’t fit so well. Hard to imagine that even a small store could be properly stocked using nothing but three Kindle eReaders, the Kindle Fire, some accessories, and whatever books they are able to get published before the end of the year.
Interestingly, this is not the first time that Amazon has been rumored to be working on building themselves a physical presence. Unlike previous instances, though, the details do seem to add up here. In addition to the fact that the proposed pilot store would be in Seattle, home of Amazon and a state where sales taxes are already being collected by the company, the initial report indicates that they have already contracted store design through a shell company. It will be small rather than something intended to compete head to head in every area at once with other retail giants like Walmart, which also makes a good deal of sense for a company that derives a great deal of benefit from being highly distinct from such stores while still offering amazing savings. Most importantly, unlike the 2009 rumors Amazon has not jumped in to quash this one before it takes hold.
While there are downsides to building a Brick & Mortar presence for the Kindle line, especially given the numerous partnerships that Amazon maintains with the likes of Best Buy and Target to keep their hardware available on the local level, being able to highlight something with as much investment behind it as the Kindle Fire and its anticipated successor might well be worth the risks. Hopefully over the next few months we will learn more about how Amazon intends to show off the Kindle to their advantage.