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Kindle's in Costco / Sam's Club?


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Showing 1-25 of 53 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 29, 2009 2:42:42 PM PST
Karen says:
Seems to me that Amazon.com would sell a ton of Kindle's if the Amazon.com would make them available for sale at Costco/Sam's Club during the Holidays. Would likely sell more Kindles than Amazon.com currently does and would expand their market presence. Say, a K2 with a gift certificate for $50.00 for $300.00? Other retailers that used to be primarily online only (see Dell Computers) have expanded into retail outlets lately with some success, why not Amazon.com? Just a thought. Comments?

Posted on Nov 29, 2009 2:51:11 PM PST
Awagner109 says:
Why Costco/Sam's club? They are for members only. You have to pay to shop their. Why not Walmart?

Posted on Nov 29, 2009 3:04:01 PM PST
You have to vomit to shop at Walmart.

Posted on Nov 29, 2009 3:14:08 PM PST
S. Dunham says:
Sam's is part of Walmart and it would be the same as selling them in Walmart. But as far as Costco, or even QVC, goes, there are several reasons why this wouldn't work. First, these companies buy in bulk. Then, they are the 'owners', for lack of better word to use, of these devices. They would have to work something out with Amazon for that 30 day warrenty. If there is a problem, you would have to take it back to where you bought it like any other device. It's adding a 3rd party to mix and will create more confusion. Then others have asked why Amazon just doesn't set up kiosks to sell Kindles. Well, they would have to get a tax ID in every state that they were going to do that. Amazon doesn't have a state tax ID in every state. Again, not financially worth it and more aggrevation. Why would I buy a Kindle from a store and pay tax on it instead of getting it from Amazon directly? Dell needed to expand into the stores to save their business. As more people are fed up with them calling themselves an American company and then moving their jobs to other countries. They needed to be seen side by side with all their competitors.

Posted on Nov 29, 2009 3:43:31 PM PST
Amazon does pretty well as a web eTailer - no need to go brick and mortar - the places you mention are compitition - look at the web pricing wars for DTP going on right now with Wal-mart and Amazon

Posted on Nov 29, 2009 5:53:03 PM PST
NV Rick says:
A lot of people like to see a product "live" before spending money on it. I had no interest in a Kindle until I saw one belonging to a friend. Now my wife and I both have k2's. These are two sales that would not have happened if we had not been able to handle one. I am sure that there are many people who would react the same as we did. The commercial(s), even if I were to have seen one <dvr> might have caused some interest, but actually holding and using one is what did the trick for me.
As far as Costco, they are re-sellers and the warranty would still be effective, and as far as returns, Costco has a very liberal return policy. I would bet that if Kindles were on display, sales would go up at least several percentage points.
There are numerous things that I have gotten interested in just by being able to handle them. My latest digital slr is a good example. After handling a Canon 40D when it first came out, I knew that was the one I wanted, as opposed to one of Canon's cheaper models.
This is a possible disadvantage Amazon may have since nooks and Sony e-readers can be held and compared against each other but all you can do is look at pictures of the Kindle.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2009 6:00:06 PM PST
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Posted on Nov 29, 2009 6:32:15 PM PST
If I buy a Kindle now, does the 30 days to buy the warranty start now or on Christmas if it's a gift?

Posted on Nov 29, 2009 6:33:54 PM PST
Jwb52z says:
What exactly IS the "I have to touch it to want one" thing about, especially with a 30 day return policy?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2009 6:50:22 PM PST
Readnswim says:
you don't have to go to Sam's or Costco to get it for less than $300...it's already $259 at Amazon..

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2009 8:12:43 PM PST
Appears similar to downloading samples of free books to me.....if you don't like it, send it back or delete it.....okay I know it is just me.....again....;0

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2009 11:04:11 PM PST
NV Rick says:
It isn't that I _have_ to touch something. In my case, if I hadn't seen one, I never would have bought one (two, actually).
A classic case of a product "selling itself." If someone has no idea of the quality and usefulness of a product, what better way to sell it than having it available where they can actually handle it and see what it does? A thirty day return policy is worthless if you never actually purchase a product.
How many other products are bought that the purchaser has never seen the actual product.

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 12:36:52 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 30, 2009 12:44:55 AM PST
Peter Craine says:
Clayton, since ebook readers are an entirely new kind of device for most people, I think it's understandable that many balk at the idea of spending hundreds of dollars on a gizmo with which they are wholly unfamiliar. The thing comes, you open it up, in ten minutes you know you've made a mistake - and now you have to box it up and ship it back. To me, that's a hassle, a big headache I shouldn't have to experience. It's not at all convenient. What's convenient is being able to walk into a store, or walk up to a kiosk in a mall, and monkey around with it for ten minutes before deciding it's not for me.

Now, I've purchased computers online, and telescopes, and they all cost much more than a Kindle, but in these cases I'd used many computers and telescopes before - I had a very good idea what I was buying, even if I'd never used (or even seen in person) the specific model of computer or telescope I'd ordered. In contrast, I was intrigued by the Kindle, but I doubt I'd have ever bought one without using one first. The 30 day return policy would have been no comfort. (Fortunately, my wife solved that problem for me by giving me a Kindle for Christmas. )

Amazon has sold a lot of Kindles, to be sure, but I think many, many serious readers - people who buy lots and lots of books - continue to shun it, and even despise it, simply because they've never had the chance to use one.

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 8:47:47 AM PST
Esse says:
Agreed. Kindles are fairly expensive devices and I understand not wanting to take a chance on an unknown product when the cost is a fair percentage of a person's discretionary income. I would have purchased a Kindle much sooner if I'd been able to see one in person and I know several people who would probably buy one if they could do the same. I think this is an area when Amazon might lose some sales to competitors with a brick and mortar presence.

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 8:56:14 AM PST
S. Dunham says:
Well since QVC is a multi-billion dollar business, there are plenty of people that buy without ever seeing it or touching it...or even tasting it. If you don't like it, send it back. I never saw a Kindle, but I bought one anyway. It looked like something I would definately use. If I didn't like it, I would have returned it. I have purchases many electronic devices this way....my new TV, my laptop, my DVD-R, and I never went to look at them in the stores before I made these purchases. But even if Costco started to sell Kindles, you would have to pay sales tax on it and it would be more expensive than getting it directly from Amazon.

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 9:03:37 AM PST
Brent says:
I'm sure Amazon would love to sell tons of the devices in every retail store in the world. :-)

One major problem I see is the number of devices required for these companies. As others have pointed out, major retailers buy in bulk -- tens of thousands of units, to be shipped to all their stores. Amazon's had enough trouble keeping Kindles in stock, and I'm sure they manage their inventory very carefully. E Ink screens are tough enough to come by now; how will they be able to produce another big run just for Costco or Sam's Club?

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 9:21:26 AM PST
One of the reasons why Amazon might want to avoid a brick and morter location is sales tax. With a couple of exceptions -- Washington Sate and New York, Amazon avoids charging sales tax. If they have a retail presence in a state, then they will have to charge their online customers tax. In a state like California where tax is as high as 9.75%, there are many who buy from Amazon rather than there local retailer because of the extra savings.

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 9:22:46 AM PST
NV Rick says:
It's curious that some folks think it's a bad idea to have more exposure for something that they apparently like. I wonder if there is some feeling of elitism involved--"I'm smart enough to appreciate this product, but why should the masses be exposed to this elegant machine?"
I'm sure that Amazon could ramp up the production if the demand increased, and this demand would offset any additional costs of the expansion.
As far as purchasing things like tv's and dvr's, I'm sure that most people who buy these items on line have actually seen the product (maybe not the exact model) before doing so. I've stated before: if I had not seen and played with a friend's Kindle, I never would have purchased two of them.

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 9:36:52 AM PST
Rebecca says:
NV - I was totally the opposite. I saw it on Amazon.com back when it first came out, read a few reviewss about it, read the forums a bit and then asked for it for my birthday around Dec. 2007 and received it in March 2008 - all without seeing it in someone's hands. I love my K1. Once I started reading my first book, I was hooked and haven't looked back since.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2009 9:38:29 AM PST
Brent says:
NV Rick: Thanks for the post! I agree that it's...odd...when people don't want others to experience the thing that they enjoy so much.

Did want to ask about one thing, though. You wrote, "I'm sure that Amazon could ramp up the production if the demand increased, and this demand would offset any additional costs of the expansion."

What makes you think that? I'm honestly asking. The E Ink screen is manufactured by another company with its own resource constraints; how can Amazon ramp up production on something that it has no fundamental control over (besides saying "Can you make more can you make more can you make more!")?

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 9:53:50 AM PST
S. Dunham says:
NV....I don't think that more exposure is a bad thing at all. I'm just saying that there are drawbacks from being an on-line retailer to putting their products in stores. I just don't buy the argument that most people need to see/touch something before they buy. Some do, and there is nothing wrong with that. But there are a lot that buy from on-line stores and shopping channels all the time. Another person had mentioned Amazon putting Kindle kiosks in malls. Again, Amazon would have to get a tax ID for the states that they do and collect sales tax. It adds more work on the business end of things. I'm just talking about the business side that I can see as a negative. Exposure for any product is a good thing. And with B&N giving free advertising to the Kindle on their own site or any mention of the nook comes with mention of the Kindle, I think Amazon can stay competitive enough. That's just my opinion and I'm not putting anyone down who doesn't feel otherwise. I just respectfully disagree.

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 10:04:39 AM PST
GreyDay says:
They wouldn't need a tax id if the kiosks didn't sell the kindles, just demonstrated and had a terminal for people to order online just like they do at home. Setting some booths up in major malls around the holidays would be useful. They wouldn't need to be there all year and the space rental for booths is not very expensive.

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 10:37:38 AM PST
Cynthia -- State Board of Equalization might take exception with the "kiosks" idea and want their tax because of a "sales presence" -- right now, Amazon is fighting the state regarding the fact that their "lab" is in California, State Board wants sales tax paid in California even though the lab is simply research.

Having delt with the California State Board on several occasions because of my part ownership in several retail operations, I know for a fact they are more difficult than the IRS to deal with.

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 10:43:25 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 30, 2009 10:44:24 AM PST
The sales tax issue is critical for Amazon. Look, Amazon sells a ton of stuff nationwide but generally avoids sales taxes in the various states. (Here in Mass you are supposed to "voluntarily" pay sales tax on internet purchases. Huh? Not heppening.) But the states would LOVE to tax ALL of Amazon's sales in the state. So if they opened kiosks (even just demonstrating the Kindle) or sold Kindles at Costco, etc, , I can assure you that the state taxing authorities would go after Amazon because of the volume of sales in their state. the financial risk is too great for Amazon/ Remember it would NOT be limited to the Kindle sales but ALL Amazon sales. So, as great as it is to have a Kindle in hand to see what it is about, Amazon won't do it because of HUGE tax ramifications and loss of profitability. Makes sense to me.

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 11:03:59 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 30, 2009 11:10:47 AM PST
There is no doubt that Amazon would sell more Kindles if they were available at Costco. I hear a lot of people saying, "But I'm fine with buying it online, sight unseen, because I can return it." And that's why Amazon has sold about a million Kindles to people like you. But there are plenty of people-I would say the vast majority of people-who will not buy something online without seeing anything like it in person first. These people exist whether you or I (or Amazon) agree with their rationale or not. And the device is so cool, some percentage of people who play around with it in Costco (or wherever) will buy the thing. Some will be impulse buys. Some of those are customers who never would have bought it online.

Now, there may be some very good reasons why Amazon doesn't sell them at Costco. Maybe Costco would demand they sell it for less than $259. (See the recent dispute over Coke prices, so Costco stopped carrying Coke products.) And I know Costco makes retailers agree to their very generous return policy. The things you return at Costco get sent back to the manufacturer. Costco doesn't eat it, the manufacturer does. That's why Costco is so willing to let you return anything.

- David Derrico, author of Right Ascension and Declination (Right Ascension).
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  27
Total posts:  53
Initial post:  Nov 29, 2009
Latest post:  Dec 1, 2009

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