Target to Sell Google e-Reader, Amazon to Launch Tablet

Discussion
Jul 14, 2011
George Anderson

The e-reader and tablet computer categories are in the process of getting more competitive based on recent announcements and reporting.

Earlier this week, Target announced it would be the exclusive retailer of the iriver Story HD, the first e-reader fully integrated with Google’s eBooks. The device, priced at $139.99 (five percent less for guests purchasing with their REDcards), provides access to Google’s library of more than three million free e-books as well as its catalog of titles for purchase. Consumers may also trade-in electronic devices for further credit toward the purchase price.

"Target strives to provide guests with exclusive access to the most innovative new products, and the iriver Story HD is no exception," said Nik Nayar, vice president of merchandising, Target, in a press release. "With the rapid advancements of e-readers and tablets, the iriver Story HD’s superior features and integration with Google eBooks sets it apart."

Target’s announcement comes on the heels of a report by IDC that said Barnes & Noble’s Color Nook had taken the top spot in the e-reader category during the first quarter.

"Amazon’s Kindle was second, but the lack of a color offering has clearly impacted the company’s previous dominance in the eReader market," wrote IDC as quoted by Reuters.

Target also sells the Kindle along with other e-readers from Sony, Kobo, Pandigital and Aluratek. The chain also sells Apple’s iPad tablet device.

On the tablet front, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon.com will launch a rival device to the iPad in October.

Citing unnamed sources "familiar with the matter," the Amazon device will have a screen around nine inches and run on Google’s Android platform.

Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst with Forrester Research, believes Amazon is best positioned to compete with Apple and is likely to develop a device that will sacrifice features to offer a lower-priced alternative to the popular iPad. The new unit, unlike Apple’s product, is said to come without a camera.

Discussion Questions: What is your current take on the e-reader and tablet device markets? Will Kindle continue to lose share in the e-reader category? Will lower priced alternatives pose the biggest threat to Apple’s iPad going forward?

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9 Comments on "Target to Sell Google e-Reader, Amazon to Launch Tablet"


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Mike Osorio
Guest
Mike Osorio
9 years 9 months ago

Like the iPhone, Apple’s design edge and first-to-market consistency has held the iPad iPad2 ahead of the pack, at least for those with fewer budget limitations. However, there is a clearly building market for lower cost alternatives of both pure readers and fuller functioning tablets. I’m betting on Apple remaining ahead in the more lucrative premium market and for several others to fight it out in the less profitable low cost arena. I’ll continue to enjoy my iPad2–with the Kindle App loaded on for my e-book reading pleasure.

Joel Warady
Guest
Joel Warady
9 years 9 months ago

The days of dedicated e-readers are gone. For e-readers to gain success, they must do a lot more than just allow people to read books. The Nook Color has worked well due to the fact that additional apps have been developed by a growing developer market, and it allows the Color Nook to be a low-priced alternative to the iPad.

Amazon is now playing catch-up, but they too have “announced” that their new device will be more than a simple e-reader, it will be a 9 inch screen that offers a lot more functionality.

All that being said, the iPad has a significant head-start, and a significant lead in the market. With the iPad3 scheduled to launch prior to the end of the year, Apple is not willing to give up its dominance in the table market.

Which leads us to the question; What is Target thinking? Why do they think this new e-reader will sell? Because of Google Books. Sorry, that’s yesterday’s news.

Anne Howe
Guest
9 years 9 months ago
As a shopper who is now in the market for an e-reader, I’m taking in this information in context of a personal journey toward purchase. In that light, the lack of a color offering is a deal-breaker. I do think Kindle will have share erosion given the competitive feature set. However, the integration with Google e-books is not a tipping point to the iriver Story HD either. A significant confusion point in the category is trying to determine WHEN to buy given the rapidity of change in the devices and the number of new entrants in the space. It’s impossible to “time the market” and not have immediate buyer remorse of regret once you’ve made a purchase. It reminds me of the early days of digital cameras. (Research proved that buyer regret was very common and detrimental to brands) The complexity of the offerings makes one crave the concepts of simple and trusted. To me that spells Apple or Amazon. My sense is that manufacturers and retailers don’t really understand the shopper default to simple… Read more »
Max Goldberg
Guest
9 years 9 months ago

The e-reader and tablet marketplace is exactly where most commentators felt it would be when Apple launched the iPad; a wide number of devices are in stores, with more to come. Kindle and Apple will remain on top for the foreseeable future, with others nipping at their heals for market share.

The biggest threat to Apple will be Android-based devices, but even with then, Apple sales will remain strong.

Bill Emerson
Guest
Bill Emerson
9 years 9 months ago

The fact is that the first e-reader was shipped in November 2007. Not 4 years later, Amazon is shipping over 50% of its book sales to e-readers, Borders is gone, and Barnes & Noble is exploring “strategic alternatives.” The question is not why so many are jumping into the game. The question is why it took so long. My sense is that this will be the equivalent of what automobiles did to horseback riding.

Anne Bieler
Guest
Anne Bieler
9 years 9 months ago

Electronic devices follow a predictable development as the market evolves–first innovation leaders take a major share, and hold if support, products and service are competitive; then the new entries arrive, building on their strengths and core users. This is still early days, and the mix of readers and ebook products is still evolving–significant price drops in cost of new ebook releases, broader catalogs, integration, all these possibilities will shape success for the agile and committed marketers. At the end of the day, ease of use and range of available products at a fair price will determine success.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
9 years 9 months ago

I feel like its the VHS/Betamax battle all over again.

Lots of consumers will end up buying lots of electronics until either (a) one technology emerges as the clear winner or (b) one device handles everyone’s books.

Anne Frisbie
Guest
Anne Frisbie
9 years 9 months ago

The increasing overlap between retail (consumer electronics in particular) and advertising is an amazing trend. The fact that Google, Apple, and Amazon are now such direct competitors certainly speaks to this. Think…Google & Android platform. Apple and iAds. Amazon and an Ad Supported Kindle being sold at Target. I will say that our research has shown that consumers do increasingly understand the exchange of value (free content for ads) that advertising provides them but certainly discounts on consumer electronics that are bought in retail stores is taking this paradigm to a new level.

Tony Orlando
Guest
9 years 9 months ago

This category will continue to drop in price, as the big players wedge their way in. Again, survival of the biggest will take place, and the deep pockets will win.

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