Amazon's Kindle: Coming Soon to an Airport Near You
Just in the last week alone, the world's largest online retailer dropped its Kindle electronic reader price to $189, announced that its applications for the iPad and iPhone would be able to play audio and video, and finally made the Kindle app available for Google's (GOOG) Android smartphone platform.
Now, Amazon has inked an exclusive deal with HMSHost to stock the Kindle in 11 airports around the country, starting immediately.
Simply Books and Authors Bookstore
The devices will be available at Simply Books stores in airports including Dallas-Fort Worth, George Bush International in Houston, Miami International and Salt Lake City International, as well as in Authors Bookstore outlets in Minneapolis-St. Paul, John Wayne (Orange County, Calif.) and Tampa International.
"We are very excited to partner with Amazon to be the first airport retailer to offer the highly acclaimed Kindle to people on the go, and to have it available in our bookstores prior to the busy Fourth of July holiday," said HMSHost Retail Senior VP Joan Ryzner in a statement. "The Kindle's readable 'easy on the eyes' screen and vast selection of titles are sure to delight travelers planning short or long trips."
The move is a natural one, since the Kindle and e-readers in general are very popular with those who rack up the frequent-flyer miles, and the only surprise is that it's taken this long for Amazon to reach the airport retail market. But presumably, the company wanted to make some general retail headway by stocking the device in Target (TGT) stores, which appears to be paying off. Amazon, as always, won't disclose how many e-readers it has sold. It's just a matter of time before B&N or Apple follows suit, possibly with a HMSHost competitor like Hudson Booksellers.
But the "intensifying competition" from fellow tech giants also has Wall Street worried, and this new deal may not quell the jitters that's caused Amazon stock to drop 20% since mid-April. Marianne Wolk of Susquehanna downgraded Amazon to a neutral rating on Monday, saying in a note that "with moves pending by Apple and Google, rising competition is raising the uncertainty regarding eReader, eBook, and Book profit growth rates, capping the contribution to Amazon's valuation from these sectors. Thus, we are less confident in the multiple expansion we previously forecast."