Amazon Enters Digital Download Market
The new additions--which came a few days after it was revealed in the press that Amazon has started selling sexually oriented "adult" products--are a sign that the online retailer is in growth mode, said Jupiter Research analyst Patti Freeman Evans.
"Amazon is looking for opportunities to expand their ability to sell online, across many categories," Freeman said. "Given Amazon's leadership position as an online retailer, selling digital products makes perfect sense."
Because downloadable books don't require storage or traditional shipping, selling them doesn't present great logistical hurdles, Freeman added.
On the other hand, consumers have yet to embrace e-books. In the third quarter of last year, revenues for e-books totaled just $3.2 million for around 420,000 units, according to data from the International Digital Publishing Forum.
Amazon did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
Terms of the Shutterfly deal were not disclosed, other than that the arrangement will involve a co-branded Amazon-Shutterfly site, and also will enable Amazon to offer consumers a host of digital photo services, including photo sharing, developing, and printing. Amazon and Shutterfly have natural synergies, given that Amazon.com sells digital cameras and accessories, Freeman said.