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Updated: Target to Stop Carrying the Kindle – Replaced by Kobo, Google?

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

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fjtorres May 2, 2012 um 9:40 am

Over at Mobilereads there are reports that Target has already ditched Kobo.
They *could* be partnering with Google.
Or, they could be getting out of ebook readers altogether.
Or, most likely; they’ve decided that selling a competitor’s product is not the best use of their floor space. Especially if their pbook sales are showing any kind of decline.
We’ll find out soon enough… 🙂

Nate Hoffelder May 2, 2012 um 10:02 am

My local store had the Kobo Touch last I checked, but they also had the iriver Story HD on display even though it was discontinued. Maybe they simply hadn’t removed it yet.

George May 2, 2012 um 11:19 am

Hmmm, too bad for Target. I bought my first couple of Kindles there. No reason to go back in now.

Peter May 2, 2012 um 11:26 am

I’m not sure if this is true for the Kindle or not, but I know that Barnes and Noble has post sale ebook revenue sharing arrangements in place with some third-party retailers that carry the nook- which makes sense when you consider the low margins and prices on the hardware itself.

If Amazon was doing the same thing, then post agency model pricing plans may be forcing contract renegotiation.

Jack W Perry May 2, 2012 um 2:40 pm

The Kindle display at the 4-5 Target’s I visited over the past two months always looked horrible. Generally it was broken, out of juice and just ignored. I bet it was because the sales were poor. To me, if it sells, Target will carry it. If it doesn’t, pull it.

Andrys May 3, 2012 um 2:36 pm

Target announced after Thanksgiving holiday, I think it was, that the Kindle was their biggest seller around. Several articles have pointed that out.

I think it’s a combo of not wanting to showcase products for Amazon purchasing and having worked out a deal with Apple to have mini-Apple outlets in 25 of the Target stores soon.

Probably some encouragement there.

Mike Cane May 2, 2012 um 7:57 pm

>>>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 is the facile explanation to run to.

No. "Conflict of interest" = Amazon is competing with our merchandise and undercutting our physical store prices so let’s punch these bastards in the eye and dump their crap.

I wonder how many other stores will wake up to that tactic?

Unlike the Big Six, none of the stores stocking Kindle are stuck in a (self-made) corner having to submit to Amazon.

Mike Cane May 3, 2012 um 7:43 am


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