Amazon is continuing its global march by making a big move into the country that could rightfully lay claim to being responsible for Amazon’s name: today the online book and retail marketplace announced it would be launching its Kindle Store in Brazil. A move to Brazil with an e-bookstore-only operation has been on the cards since earlier this year; now the main site is opened with access to Amazon’s Kindle e-book store from today, with Kindle devices going on sale in “the coming weeks,” priced at 299 Brazilian reais (US$143).
This is a significant launch for Amazon for a couple of reasons.
For one, it’s Amazon’s first attempt to go into a new market with an e-book-only operation. According to a Reuters article from back in June, this is partly because it was too complicated to sort out the logistics for a larger operation similar to those that Amazon has in other countries such as its home market of the U.S., Europe, Japan and elsewhere, where the company also sells physical books, consumer electronics, household goods, and much more — often from a selection of third-party retailers as well as itself.
Amazon has always been super cagey about just how well its Kindle operation does — it never reveals sales figures for the e-book devices, or for how many actual e-books it sells. What it does note are relative momentum figures such as these from last month, when it noted that the first traditional sales weekend of the holiday period — kicked off by Black Friday — saw it sell the most Kindle devices ever. What the Brazil move seems to suggest, though, is that Kindle and the ebook business is strong enough to lead the company’s expansion strategy.
This move in Brazil is also important because it’s Amazon’s next step in worldwide domination.
The company has been relatively good, if somewhat slow, in rolling out services into Europe (it took two years from Kindle’s launch for the first Kindle to come to Europe; and one year for the Kindle Fire to make its way here) and other markets. Today it has operations in the U.S., UK, Germany, Japan, France, Canada, China, Italy and Spain.
But in emerging economies, others have been stealing a march. There are local competitors, such as Saraiva, which like Amazon.com sells books, electronics, and much more. Other international players have been eyeing up where Amazon is not, and building out accordingly.
Perhaps the most notable example here is the Sawmer Brothers’ Rocket Internet, which has been sprouting e-commerce operations from Russia to South East Asia and South America — one of which, the Asian Amazon clone Lazada, picked up another €20 million in funding just yesterday.
In Brazil, Rocket has 13 startups on the go at the moment, including Etsy-like Airu; homewares site Mobly; Square-like Payleven; Fab-like Westwing; and online fashion store Dafiti. Nothing in e-books specifically, however, in Brazil.
Ironically, Saraiva is rumored to be in talks with Amazon to sell its e-commerce operation, which would give Amazon a tremendous instant boost in the region. Equally, Rocket Internet has had many a successful exit in the past to U.S. giants looking for global expansion (eBay and Groupon are notable buyers), so that could present another interesting opportunity.
But while it is focusing just on the Kindle and e-books business first, Amazon is looking to do this in a comprehensive way.
Amazon’s Kindle store will come with 1.4 million books, with 13,000 in Portuguese, 1,500 free, and as with Amazon’s other products these will be usable on Android, iOS, Mac and PC devices.
To beef up that operation it is, from day one, also opening its Kindle store to self-published authors and independent publishers, via its Kindle Direct Publishing platform, which lets them price the books as they want, keep control of the copyright and content, and pay a commission to Amazon in the process. This not only lets those individuals publish to the Kindle store in Brazil but also potentially to the rest of the world where Kindle products are available by way of apps, 175 countries in all.
One of the keys with this launch, too, is that it is geared to the local market. That covers not just local books, but local currency.
“We are excited to launch this new Kindle Store for Brazilian customers, offering the most popular best-selling books from many great Brazilian authors, all priced in Reais,” said Alexandre Szapiro, VP of Kindle, Amazon.com.br in a statement.
More generally, Brazil, like other emerging markets, are the big hope for companies that work in the world of wireless/mobile goods and services, Amazon included.
Unlike economies like the U.S. and much of Europe, where smartphone usage has been maturing and growth slowing down, emerging markets still have relatively low smartphone penetration. They also have rising middle classes that are still at the early stages of giving over ever-larger shares of their monthly budgets to things like fancy electronics and fun things to consume on them.
Figures from IDC (via RCR Wireless) note that in the first six months of 2012, smartphone shipments grew by 77% in Brazil, while feature phones declined by 29%. Right now smartphones account for about 26% of shipments and won’t reach a tipping point until 2015. Tablets and e-readers will be significantly behind that (=more growth opportunity).
All these reasons make Brazil and countries like it important targets. That’s something that has also caught the attention of companies like Apple, which has in the last year also reportedly ramped up its operations in the country.
Full release below.
Amazon Launches Brazil Kindle Store (www.amazon.com.br) and Free Portuguese Kindle Reading Apps for Android Phones and Tablets, iPads and iPhones—R$299 Kindle Available in the Coming Weeks
Every Brazilian with an Android phone or tablet, iPad or iPhone, PC or Mac can now read Kindle books
Over 1.4 million Kindle books priced in Reais (R$) available for purchase by Brazilian customers on Amazon.com.br, including more than 13,000 Portuguese-language titles, the most Veja best sellers, and exclusive works from Paulo Coelho, Vinícius de Moraes, Nelson Rodrigues and Ziraldo
Kindle—the world’s #1 best-selling e-reader for five years running—coming soon to Brazil
Kindle Direct Publishing now available to independent authors and publishers in Brazil
SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dec. 6, 2012– (NASDAQ:AMZN)—Amazon today launched the Brazil Kindle Store (www.amazon.com.br) with the largest selection of the most popular books, including the most Veja best sellers and lowest prices of any eBookstore in Brazil. The Brazil Kindle Store offers over 1.4 million books, now available to Brazilian customers priced in Brazilian Reais (R$), including more than 13,000 Portuguese-language books, 49 of 60 Veja best sellers—the most of any digital bookstore—and the most free books in Portuguese. In addition, Amazon announced that Kindle—the world’s #1 best-selling e-reader for five years running—will go on sale in Brazil in the coming weeks with a suggested retail price of R$299. For more information, and to begin shopping in the Kindle Store, visit www.amazon.com.br.
“We are excited to launch this new Kindle Store for Brazilian customers, offering the most popular best-selling books from many great Brazilian authors, all priced in Reais,” said Alexandre Szapiro, Vice President of Kindle, Amazon.com.br. “We’re also bringing our latest generation Kindle—the best-selling e-reader in the world—to Brazilian customers at a suggested retail price of R$299 in the coming weeks. With the launch of free Kindle reading apps in Portuguese, anyone who has an Android phone, Android tablet, iPhone or iPad, PC or Mac, can start reading Kindle books today.”
New Brazil Kindle Store
The Brazil Kindle Store features over 1.4 million titles, including the most best sellers and the lowest prices of any eBookstore in Brazil. The Brazil Kindle Store sells works from a range of Brazilian authors like Jorge Amado, Lya Luft and Martha Medeiros. Readers will also find eBooks that are only available in the Kindle Store such as the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and 13 titles by the best-selling and iconic Paulo Coelho, as well as his never-before-published short non-fiction piece “O Livro dos Manuais.” Other exclusive titles include books by poet Vinícius de Moraes—whose work has never been available digitally before—screenplay writer and journalist Nelson Rodrigues and a free book by the cartoonist Ziraldo. The store also has over 1,500 free Portuguese-language books available to download and read on Kindle and free Kindle reading apps.
Amazon.com.br also today announced that independent authors and publishers are now able to make their books available in the new Brazil Kindle Store using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) (http://kdp.amazon.com.br). Brazilian independent authors and publishers can utilize the new Portuguese-language KDP website to make their books available in Brazil, and more than 175 countries worldwide. They can also price their books and receive payments in Brazilian Reais for their sales in Brazil, all while retaining control of their content and copyrights.
Free Kindle Reading Apps—“Buy Once, Read Everywhere”
Amazon is also introducing free Kindle reading apps in Portuguese for all of the most popular devices and platforms, including iPhone, iPad, Android phones, Android tablets, PC and Mac. With the free Kindle apps, customers “Buy Once, Read Everywhere”—Amazon’s Whispersync technology automatically synchronizes a customer’s Kindle library, as well as their notes, highlights and last page read across all of their Kindle devices and Kindle apps. Customers can easily access the Kindle Store directly from their phone, tablet or computer web browser, with all of the features customers love about shopping on Amazon, including personalized recommendations, instant one-click buying and customer reviews, and then start reading Kindle books on their iPhone, iPad, Android tablets and phones, PCs and Macs.
Kindle—the Smallest, Lightest Kindle Ever—just R$299
Kindle—the best-selling e-reader in the world—will be available in the coming weeks in Brazil from various locations with a suggested retail price of R$299.
Small and Light: Kindle is small and light. At only 170 grams, it’s the lightest Kindle we’ve ever made, weighing less than a typical paperback. Kindle is small enough to fit in a pocket and take with you everywhere, while still keeping the same 6-inch e-ink display found in previous generations of Kindle.
Electronic Ink Display: Kindle’s high-contrast electronic e-ink display delivers clear, crisp text and images. Unlike LCD screens, Kindle reads like real paper, with no glare, even in bright sunlight.
Page Turn Buttons and Even Faster Page Turns: Page turn buttons allow you to easily turn pages with either hand, while continuing to hold the Kindle in a reading position. Kindle also features 15 percent faster page turns than the previous generation Kindle.
Built-In Wi-Fi: Kindle has built-in Wi-Fi support.
Books in 60 Seconds: With fast, free wireless delivery, customers can start reading books on Kindle in less than 60 seconds.
Holds up to 1,400 Books: Kindle allows customers to carry their entire library in their pocket.
Up To One Month Battery Life: Read for up to one month on a single charge with wireless off.
Free Cloud Storage: Books purchased from the Kindle Store are automatically backed up for free in the Worry-Free Archive where they can be re-downloaded wirelessly, anytime.
Whispersync: Amazon’s Whispersync technology synchronizes a customer’s last page read, bookmarks and annotations across all of their devices, so they can always pick up where they left off.
Massive Selection: The Kindle Store has over 1.4 million books, including 13,000 Portuguese-language books, new releases, and 49 of 60 Veja best sellers, more than any other digital bookstore.
Free Books: Over 1,500 free Portuguese-language books are available to read on Kindle.
Free Book Samples: First chapters of Kindle books are available for customers to download and read for free before they decide to buy.
Reading Features: Kindle offers three font styles and eight different text sizes, so customers can easily customize their reading experience. Plus, with improved fonts and faster page turns, reading on Kindle is better than ever. Kindle also comes with a built-in dictionary, instant lookup of words, popular highlights, Facebook and Twitter integration, support for bookmarks and annotations and more.
Parental Controls: Customers can restrict access to the Experimental Web Browser, Archived Items and the Kindle Store before giving Kindle to a child.
Instant Dictionary Lookups: Customers enjoy instant dictionary lookups with the built-in Dicionário Priberam da Língua Portuguesa.
Customers can visit the new Brazil Kindle Store now at www.amazon.com.br.
For high-resolution images of Kindle, visit www.amazon.com/pr/kindle.