eReaders may be popular at Amazon and Barnes & Noble but at most retailers, the category is barely getting off the ground.
That should change starting this Mother’s Day, as leading consumer electronics chains are setting up eReader departments and taking on new brands.
Until now, most regional chains carried only non-connected Sony eReaders although many expect to add Sony’s 3G Daily Edition (with over-the-air eBook downloads) in the near future as well as other makes.
One caveat is that budget-priced eReaders tend to carry margins of about 20 percent while many retailers prefer margins that are slightly higher. “Most retailers like to see margins at 22 to 35 percent,” said Bob Barry, director of global business development for eReader supplier Aztak. Nonetheless, retailers are starting to show more interest, he claimed.
“Some retailers won’t work on less than 30 points margins and some on 15 points. It depends,” added Aluratek VP sales & marketing John Wolikow. “But a lot of the retailers are excited about the category and they know it will be pretty competitive so they may work on slimmer margins,” he said.
Sixth Avenue Electronics plans to set up an eReader department in three to four weeks and Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM) is preparing a department for the near future. NFM currently carries only Sony eReaders presently, but is in the process of adding brands. “We feel it will be a major category,” said electronics divisional merchandise manager Mark Shaw.
“We’re going to be very committed,” to the category said a Sixth Avenue spokesman, noting the store is looking at stocking about three brands.
Electronic Express said it expects eReaders sales will start to take off on Mother’s Day. The chain stocks Sony and Aluratek and is looking at the soon-to-be-released Samsung eReaders. The store has merchandised eReaders in locked glass displays but plans to get eReaders up on counter tops with hands-on displays this year.
hh gregg will carve out a space for eReaders in its digital center shown above. “We are looking at all options in the category. Many manufacturers are going to offer an eReader of some kind,” said senior buyer Trevor May.
Also in eReaders, Samsung plans to unveil new models next Tuesday after showing rough prototypes at the January Consumer Electronics Show.
Photo Caption: hh gregg’s digital center