Over the past 6 months Target, one of America's largest retailers, has been thinning out their selection of ereaders. In May they dropped the Kindle, and in July they stopped carrying the Kobo eReader. Today I finally learned why Target did this.
I was at my local Target store today when I spotted something new. The ereader display had been reorganized with some of the content shifted around. New signs were added since I saw it last, and now it is pretty clear who is responsible for the departure of Kindle and Kobo:
The honking big banner across the top is new, and so is the sign on the right showing the Nook Glow. The ebook and magazine gift cards used to be in that spot, but now they are hanging on the left.
When the news broke that Target was no longer going to carry the Kindle, I speculated that Target wanted to get into selling content for ereaders rather than just sell the devices themselves. When they added the Livrada ebook gift cards and the Conde Nast digital magazine subscription cards I thought I was right, but now it seems that I missed half the story.
The other half is B&N, which much to my surprise did not get kicked out of Target. Barnes & Noble is as nearly as much of a competitor to Target as is Amazon, and B&N is a bigger threat than Kobo. So if B&N is the only one who is visible in store then I bet there is money involved.
Signage like you see above usually does not come free; B&N likely had to pay cash for the space (as well as the privilege of getting their competition kicked out). Or, as a second possibility, Target is getting a cut of content sales handled via the Nook devices sold in Target stores. That's about the only reason I can see that Target went with B&N over Kobo, Google, and/or Amazon.
Either way, something happened behind the scenes which enabled B&N to add Target's 1,700 stores as exclusive Nook showrooms. Now that was a good move.