AT&T is giving Amazon one more place to peddle the Kindle 3G e-reader.
Starting March 6, AT&T will sell the Kindle 3G in all 2,200 U.S. retail stores. The price will be the same $189 as everywhere else, and the device won’t be any different from existing models.
AT&T benefits from selling the Kindle 3G–and not the $139 Wi-Fi-only version–because Amazon pays for the data transfer when users purchase books from the Kindle store over a 3G connection. BusinessWeek reports that AT&T could earn $3 to $4 per month for each Kindle 3G connected to its network.
But as Ina Fried points out at All Things Digital, AT&T’s plans may be more ambitious than just making a few bucks off the occasional Kindle sale. With tablets, phones, netbooks and hotspots, wireless carriers are becoming more like electronics retailers. The Kindle 3G helps paint AT&T’s store as a place for more than just handsets and coverage plans. At the very least, a broader array of gadgets will make wireless carriers’ stores more inviting.
Of course, Amazon benefits from the extra exposure as well. The Kindle is already available at Best Buy, Staples and Target, but AT&T will only sell the Kindle 3G, whose ability to download books from anywhere otherwise seems superfluous next to the cheaper Kindle Wi-Fi in other stores. Anyway, it’s one more place where Barnes & Noble’s Nook isn’t available.
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