May 3, 2012
Target Drops Kindle From Shelves, Cites Conflict Of Interest
Enid Burns for RedOrbit.com
Those wishing to get an Amazon e-reader or tablet as a gift for mom will have to act soon. After Mother's Day, Target will discontinue the sale of Amazon Kindle devices including its line of e-readers and the Kindle Fire tablet. While Internet rumblings cite an unspecified "conflict of interest," official word from Target is that the retailer continually reviews its product assortments and evaluates merchandise.
Target stores will continue to stock the devices from Amazon.com through May 13, at which time they will be pulled from the store shelves. An internal memo from Target was leaked to The Verge, which stated, "Target has reviewed our product assortment and has made the decision to no longer carry Amazon hardware (i.e., Kindle). Certain accessories for Amazon product will stay in the assortment."
At press time a search for "kindle" on the Target.com website returned only accessories such as cases, covers, screen guards and lights for Kindle devices. Some of those items were out of stock while others are listed as available. The electronic devices were not available.
Kindle devices first appeared in Target stores in June of 2010. Target has over a dozen Kindle models including the Kindle, Kindle Touch, Kindle Fire, Kindle Keyboard and Kindle DX. Many Kindles come with a Wi-Fi only option as well as a 3G option.
While the news spurred from a leaked memo, Target officially confirmed that it would pull Kindle devices from store shelves in the spring of this year. The Verge published a statement from the retailer. "Target continually evaluates its product assortment to deliver the best quality prices for our guests. Target is phasing out Kindles and Amazon- and Kindle-branded products in the spring of 2012. We will continue to offer guests a full assortment of e-readers and supporting accessories including the Nook."
Target.com currently has a number of e-readers including several from Kobo (originally created for Borders bookstore), Pandigital, Ematic, Nook (Barnes & Noble's eReader), Aluratek Libre and Sony. Target.com also has a number of tablets including models from Acer, Asus, Maylong, Le Pan, Motorola, Lenovo and Polaroid. The retailer also sells a full line of iPads from Apple.
Some people are speculating that if Target is pulling Kindles from store shelves due to a conflict of interest, it could be that the retailer recently agreed to set up themed stores with Apple including mini shops of Apple products in 25 of its stores, cites the Associated Press. Another speculation is that Amazon.com operates under a "lowest price" business model, which competes with Target in many categories.
Up until last year Amazon.com ran the Target.com online site. The decision to discontinue sale of Kindle and other Amazon-related products could be fallout from the legal battle that resulted, suggests an article on Mercury News.
However, Target has not been the only brick and mortar retailer carrying Amazon's electronic products. At this time Target competitor Walmart is selling a full line of Kindle accessories. But for those Target shoppers looking to get mom a best seller might have to consider the old-fashioned version.