While the deal period or the financial details of the agreement were not disclosed, Redington said that this deal will allow them to enter the e-reader segment and enable them to distribute Amazon’s Kindle devices.
Why is this important? This deal will allow Amazon to leverage Redington’s retail distribution network and its channel partners to distribute its Kindle e-book devices. Remember that Amazon had previously tied up with the multi-brand electronics store chain Croma to offer Kindle devices on Croma’s online store and across various Croma retail outlets across India last August. However, Croma is still offering only the entry-level Kindle on its online store.
So its possible that Amazon was probably testing its waters with Croma and has now tied up with Redington India to expand the availability of these Kindle devices. It would be interesting to see if Amazon launches all its newer range of Kindle devices like the Kindle Paperwhite, and its Android tablets like Kindle Fire HD in India in the forthcoming future.
Apple Partnership: In September 2012, Redington had inked a similar tie-up with Apple to distribute iPhone through its channel partners in India. Prior to this, iPhone was available only through operators like Airtel and Aircel, which were therefore atrociously priced. However, following this tie-up, we had noticed that Apple had become significantly aggressive with both the marketing and pricing of iPhone in the country, which had led to a significant rise in iPhone sales in India.
While there is no official information on the exact increase of iPhone sales, an Economic Times report had suggested in November 2012, that iPhone sales had increased by four-fold in the past three months. While we feel this number is on the higher side, we have heard that Apple had registered a noticeable increase in sales.
On the other hand, Amazon has always been aggressive with the pricing of its Kindle devices, quite often selling the device for a loss, to earn back the revenue from its digital services. It will therefore be quite interesting to see if Kindle sales will experience a similar trajectory in India.
Content Angle: Another point worth noting is that Kindle devices, be it e-readers like the Kindle Paperwhite or the Android tablets like Fire HD, primarily act as storefronts for Amazon’s various content services.
While the company had already extended Kindle e-book store to India last August, it is yet to extend other content like music (CloudPlayer), movies and television programs (Amazon Instant Video) it currently offers in select regions like the United States.
With Amazon’s competitors like Apple and Google extending other content forms through its iTunes store and Google Play respectively over the last few months, we wonder if Amazon has similar plans in mind, due to which it is now trying to aggressively roll out these Kindle devices in India.
Other Developments: E-commerce major Flipkart had also launched its e-book section ‘Flyte eBooks’ in November 2012. While it claims to offer more than 1.25 lakh e-books, the company currently offers only an Android app for reading books. Amazon however already offers a web reading app and a native reading app across all major desktop and mobile platforms.
Infibeam had also launched an e-book reader called Pi2 in March 2011, however we haven’t heard any new upgrades to the device in the past two years, indicating that the company has probably abandoned the e-book reader project. At the time of writing this article, we noticed that both Infibeam Pi and Infibeam Pi 2 were sold out on the portal.
Bangalore-based EC Media also offered an e-book reader called Wink e-book reader, however the company has apparently shelved the project in June 2011 and pivoted to building native reading apps across various platforms, according to a TechCircle report. The company currently offers reading apps for iPad and Windows desktops.