The Verge has turned up an internal memo from Target and it does not have good news for Amazon.
Target is going to let current stock of the Kindles run out and they won’t be replacing them. According to the memo quoted above, staff are directed to find the best way to fill current displays as they deplete the Kindles. The Verge also got an inside source to tell them that Target is going to stop carrying all of Amazon’s Kindle products due to a conflict of interest.
No one know yet what the conflict is, but if this part of the rumor is true then it suggests to me that Target might be planning to launch an ebookstore of their own. That would be a first for them, but not entirely out of the question. Target first started carrying the Kindle back in 2010 and soon added ereaders from iriver, B&N, and others to the mix. Those other ereaders appear to be unaffected.
As I think about it more, I’m beginning to wonder if that might be the case. Target is a fairly large retailer in the US so getting them to throw their weight behind an ebookstore would be a boost to any of the smaller stores. Google would probably benefit the most, and even Kobo would come out ahead. It would give them a retail presence again in the US market, something they lost with the death of Borders.
But the one I would expect more than Kobo is Google. I know they recently decided to dump all their bookstore partners, but that was more because it didn’t generate the revenue they expected and not because they disliked the idea. Signing with Target would get Google the retail presence they lack and the CS staff that they don’t know how to develop. It would be a win all around.
Update: Target has confirmed the story.
Target continually evaluates its product assortment to deliver the best quality and 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 our guests a full assortment of ereaders and supporting accessories including the Nook.
via The Verge