Large-format retail major Croma has managed to steal an edge by bringing the Kindle e-reader to its outlets, which has been duly supported by Amazon that simultaneously launched its Kindle Store for India.

How is that an edge, when Kindle can anyways be ordered off Moreover, the model being made available by Croma is just the basic one, which incidentally has a Web price of $79 (Rs 4,365 by today’s currency rates) while the Croma price is Rs 6,999, inclusive of all taxes. So how does one justify for the difference of Rs 2,634 ($48)?

Well, it seems that if one orders the product at, one would have to pay for the shipping and handling charges, which could be upward of $20. Also, Amazon would initially charge close to $100 towards import duty, even though the actual import duty would be much less and the balance amount would be refunded after a few months to the buyer.

Given that book reading is an activity of appreciable, if not phenomenal scale in India, and also that tablets, as close cousins of e-readers, have already been around for long, potential buyers may not find it hard to understand what the device has to offer.

The biggest merit of Kindle would obviously be its book-like readability, especially in direct sunlight, and glare-free screen. We have all read about that so often, but then it’s one thing to read or hear and another thing to see and experience.

And that’s why I think Croma could have stolen an edge, given that its large-format stores could give users first-hand experiences and convert footfalls into actual sales.

Unlike the overcrowded tablets segment, which makes it increasingly hard for intending buyers to decide upon a device, the e-readers market is nearly virgin in India. Kindle certainly stands to benefit from a practically first-mover advantage. 
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