Office Depot announced today that starting on Sunday, Office Depot will stock the Amazon Kindle eReader in all of its stores.
This 25-year-old business supplies retailer operates nearly 1,100 stores across the US and Canada, and it plans to stock the Kindle in all of them. Customers will be able to buy the Kindle wifi and Kindle 3G. It also plans to offer a full range of Kindle accessories upon launch, including cases and chargers.
OD is a little late to this game; it’s following in the footsteps of Staples, Office Max, Walmart, Best Buy, ToysRus, Target, and a number of other chains. While today’s news isn’t all that important, when you line up all of the retailers selling the Amazon Kindle, you can get a feel for how thoroughly Amazon has coopted its competition. Amazon competes with all of the chains that carry the Kindle, and yet they all carry it. It’s almost like an in-store advert for Amazon.
But that last part is the key detail in the relationship: “in store”. None of the several retailers I have checked will sell you a Kindle through their websites; one didn’t even list the retail price online.
Every so often some blogger will propose that Amazon start a retail presence. I would argue that it doesn’t need one, but also that if Amazon opened a brick-and-mortar store, that store would sour Amazon’s relationship with the other chains.