| SAO PAULO
SAO PAULO Feb 7 Amazon Inc. started
selling its Kindle online in Brazil on Friday, expanding from
ebooks into retail for the first time in Latin America's biggest
and most challenging ecommerce market.
By shipping its ereader devices across this inmense country,
Amazon will now get a taste of Brazil's notorious logistics
problems, widely seen as a deterrent for a full-fledged retail
operation like the one it has in the U.S.
The world's largest online retailer launched an Internet
bookstore in Brazil in 2012, a low-risk landing on this $11
billion emerging ecommerce market. Up to now, the Kindle was
being sold at bookshops, appliance stores and even kiosks in
"From north to south, from east to west, we are going to be
delivering products across Brazil," said Alex Szapiro, a former
Apple executive hired to command Amazon's deployment in Brazil.
Historically Brazilians have not been big readers and many
households have just a tiny number of books. But the country has
a population of 200 million and a growing middle class.
According to industry figures, Brazilians bought 435 million
books in 2012 worth 4.98 billion reais ($2 billion).
Szapiro said ebooks were about three percent of total Brazilian
The country has relatively low Internet penetration and has
become a promising new frontier for Internet giants such as
Facebook, Twitter and Amazon. Market research
company eBit estimates Brazilians spent 28 billion reais ($11.7
billion) online last year, 25 percent more than in 2012.
But Latin America's biggest economy is also known for its
heavy tax burden, high labor costs and logistical bottlenecks
that make ecommerce a serious challenge for newcomers.
Unlike in the U.S where Amazon operates its own distribution
network from mammoth warehouses, Szapiro said in Brazil the
company will leave the shipment of its Kindle devices to
external partners, which he declined to identify.
"Logistics can be a challenge in Brazil but we also have to
see the other side - Brazil is very advanced in terms of
ecommerce," the executive said.
The Kindle Paperwhite will be sold through Amazon's local
website for 479 reais, almost double its U.S. price.
The company will not disclose numbers for its Brazilian
operation, but Amazon's overall international sales grew 14
percent to $29.9 billion in 2013.
Szapiro said Amazon will initially offer free shipment of
its Kindle and allow customers to pay in up to 12 installments.