7/15/2009 12:52:00 PM
Amazon eyes MVNO deal as it finalises UK launch date for electronic book 'Kindle'
Amazon is close to finalising a launch date for its ‘Kindle’ electronic book reader in the UK and is in advanced negotiations with a mobile operator for an MVNO, Mobile understands.
The online retail giant has made a major play for ebooks to protect the business against the likes of Apple and Google disrupting the traditional book market.
Amazon is understood to have outsourced all aspects of manufacturing for the Kindle in the UK to Qualcomm, including securing ‘connectivity’ with
a mobile operator in the UK.
The retailer wants customers to be able to download books through PCs or over Wi-Fi, but also to have the option to regularly download newspapers, magazines and journals while on the move, via a mobile network.
Amazon is understood to be frantically working on having the Kindle ready for launch before Christmas 2009 and has already secured agreements with book publishers. It is also in the process of negotiating with news and magazine publishers.
The online retailer is known to have discussed a potential MVNO deal with
the likes of Vodafone, Orange and 3 around six months ago, but discussions broke down.
Vodafone has launched its own version of the Kindle in Germany, while Orange is working on an ebook in its domestic French market.
One senior operator source said: ‘There’s no reason we can’t do it. We have a billing arrangement already with customers, and have fantastic relationships with the hardware community.’
However, Amazon has scoffed at attempts by the mobile operators, and one insider said: ‘There is a whole ecosystem of publishers that you can’t just walk into. We have been here for 12 years.’
A spokesman for Amazon said: ‘We have previously announced that we are looking to release the Kindle with our international customers. At the moment we have no timeline.’
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos set the publishing world alight in May 2009, with the claim that ebooks were already achieving 26% of traditional book sales in America, where it launched in November 2007.
Sony, the only other provider of electronic books, offers high quality, large screens that can cope in high sunlight and can store large volumes of books and journals.