Where can I buy the latest Kindle? All online choices lead to Amazon. But now would-be purchasers in the U.K. who want to visit a store can buy from Carphone Warehouse and from Best Buy.
What is remarkable about this is the extent to which Amazon.com controls the sales of its Kindle eReaders. There have been two breakthroughs in the U.K.
U.K customers can order a Kindle from Amazon.co.uk - unlike those in Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan whose requests for the device take them to the International sales page at the U.S. site.
And if you prefer to shop in person Kindle you now have two new choices - Carphone Warehouse (only half the UK outlets) and Best Buy - in addition to PC World, John Lewis and other select retailers.
Carphone Warehouse and BestBuy have been selling Kindles in the U.S. since last September and this month A&T stores also became an outlet. This franchise is strictly retail and does not extend to online purchases.
If you search for Kindle3 on BestBuy.co.uk for Kindle 3 you'll be shown a range of Sony eBook readers! The same search at BestBuy.com shows Kindle products and prices - but with IN STORE ONLY buttons.
Amazon doesn't appear to be losing many sales over this policy, however. According International Data Corp, to Amazon led the eReader market in 2010 with just over 48% share in 4Q10 and for 2010 overall. This accords with Amazon's own claim that the third-generation Kindle had become the best selling product in the company's history.
As far as developers are concerned it is a different aspect of Amazon's control over the Kindle that is more disturbing. Something you'll have noticed as missing is the KDK - Kindle Development Kit - and its associated apps/app store. The KDK has been in closed beta for a year and apart from two test applications nothing has been heard from behind closed doors. How long does it take to develop a beta to the point where it can be made open for others to use? And where are the apps that could move the Kindle from just another ebook reader to something more?
Further reading: Kindle's record sales