Amazon kicks off physical goods operation in Brazil

E-commerce giant starts its first Latin American traditional retail operation after focusing on digital products for over a year

Amazon has started its first Latin American physical goods operation by selling Kindle devices to Brazilian consumers.

The e-commerce giant started to sell Kindles from Friday (7). This follows the launch of the Brazilian website in December 2012, which - similarly to its current operation in Mexico - only sold e-books. At the time, the company chose to sell Kindle devices through partnerships with local Brazilian retailers.

There are three Kindle versions available for purchase on the Amazon Brazil website. The basic version (Wi-fi, 6-inch display) is available for R$299 ($125); the Kindle Paperwhite is retailing for R$480 ($200) and the Paperwhite 3G costs R$700 ($292) to Brazilian consumers.

This compares with the US prices of $69 for the most basic version of the Kindle, $119 for the Paperwhite model and $189 for the Paperwhite 3G.

Fast expansion

Back when Amazon set up shop in Brazil in late 2012, its vice-president and former Apple director Alexandre Szapiro, said that his challenge is to get Brazilians to read more by offering premium products at a lower price.

Since its launch, Amazon Brazil boosted its e-book collection from 13,000 to 28,000 items at an average price tag of R$15 ($6), which can be purchased by any Kindle app user. The company also launched its Amazon Appstore in Brazil in November.

As part of the novelties introduced in this new phase of operations in Brazil, customers buying Kindles who had previously purchased e-books with Amazon will receive their devices pre-loaded with their entire digital book library.

Brazilian customers will also be able to create wish lists with items they would like to buy, but are not yet available locally. Szapiro is not commenting on plans for 2014, but this suggests that the company could soon expand its physical goods operation in Brazil.