Amazon and Google start eBook sales in Brazil

Amazon and Google have today announced that they have opened their digital bookstores in Brazil.

Amazon is due to start selling its Kindle eBook reader in the coming week for 299 reais (£89) while Google's Play service will offer eBooks and movie rentals on devices running its Android operating system.

Low Internet penetration and a growing middle class have made Brazil an attractive prospect for many tech companies hoping to cash in on the country's e-commerce market, estimated to be worth more than £7 billion.

The move ends months of speculation that Amazon would enter the Brazilian market by buying Brazil's biggest bookstore chain, Saraiva, which is trying to sell its online business. The US firm has always maintained that it would focus on organic growth in foreign markets.

Due to the low competition and strong economic growth, commentators predict that the Kindle will do well in Brazil. Similar devices like Samsung and Apple tablets often cost twice as much as their western retail prices due to import tariffs, high taxes and steep local production costs.

Google has faced controversy in Brazil in recent years. In October, Brazilian newspaper publishers threatened to boycott the search giant by signing an agreement to opt out of Google News after arguing that they should be paid for allowing Google to re-run their headlines.

In September, a Google executive was detained in Brazil after the firm refused to remove a YouTube video that mocked a mayoral candidate.

Image credit: Flickr (PedroKirilos)