Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) is pushing the Kindle e-book reader much harder than it used to. Originally content to sell the device exclusively in its own online store and promoting it mostly on the Web, Amazon took the bold step into TV ads last fall. Now Amazon has partnered with Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) to sell Kindles in a physical store near you, and the latest commercial takes a pointed stab at the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad. The game is afoot.

In the latest TV spot, Amazon points out that the Kindle handles bright sunlight better than a rival device that looks a lot like an iPad, while costing less than a decent pair of sunglasses. Of course, it doesn't run apps or play videos, but then Amazon never claimed that it would. The E-Ink screen technology and low-cost manufacturing recipe give the Kindle a few advantages that the Swiss Army knives of mobile computing will find hard to match for years to come.

This is no little hobby for Amazon anymore.

As recently as last year, you would have been forgiven for thinking that Amazon came up with the Kindle only to have a cost-effective means of distributing its books. Save a tree, hug an e-book. But it should be obvious by now that the company has grander plans than that. After all, e-book readers are a dime a dozen these days and include products from established consumer electronics giant Sony (NYSE: SNE) and rival bookseller Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS). If that wasn't enough, any tablet or smartphone worth its salt sports e-book software, too. Yet Amazon is stepping up its Kindle promotions rather than backing down to just distributing the software Kindle edition and truckloads of e-books.

This has become a high-stakes game for everyone involved, and for Amazon it's a higher-margin product that feeds its coffers in a way that no ephemeral download or third-party shipment ever could.

The Kindle is currently on a two-week back order, but Amazon obviously wants to make and sell a lot more of these crazy little things.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Best Buy is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Apple, Amazon.com, and Best Buy are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Best Buy. The Fool owns shares of Best Buy. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.