To some degree, supporting Amazon by selling Kindle devices in retail stores is insane. Why? Because Amazon is an internet monster out to fatten itself by gobbling up everyone's business. Many times it's cheaper to subscribe to Amazon Prime, purchase a ton of items like soap and toilet paper at a discount, and have it all shipped 2nd-Day for free. Where does that leave Mom and Pop not to mention Target and Walmart? Sweeping the empty isles.
Perhaps Target has finally caught on to the fact that it's feeding the enemy. The company has reportedly made a statement saying that it's phasing out the Kindle line after a two-year run because... you guessed it: a conflict of interest. Even more, the second largest U.S. discount chain will continue to offer similar products from Apple (iPad, iPod Touch) and Barnes & Noble (Nook).
"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," Molly Snyder, a Target spokeswoman, told Bloomberg in an e-mail. "We will continue to offer our guests a full assortment of e-readers and supporting accessories, including the Nook."
As Bloomberg points out, back in December Amazon ran a promotion which offered discounts to shoppers who scanned in products with their smartphones at retail stores and compared prices on Amazon. With stunts like that, the online retail giant is seemingly becoming everyone's enemy as of late including Google, Apple, and even book publishers given that its main business is aggressive pricing and low margins to undercut retailers.
That said, it wouldn't be surprising if additional retail chains decided to give the Kindle line a boot out the front door, even Walmart. Local Target stores will likely carry the eReaders until stocks are depleted. But Amazon's Kindle line has already been removed from Target's website -- even its Kindle-branded "mini-store" comes up vacant.
News of Target's Kindle abandonment surfaced on Tuesday after an internal memo emerged, revealing the Kindle's fate. According to the memo, Target will remove Amazon hardware from its locations starting in May. Certain accessories will still remain in stock, but shipments of the Kindle hardware units themselves -- ranging from the original to the Kindle Fire -- will cease as of May 13th.
There's speculation that the move to remove Kindle may have something to do with the rivalry between Apple and Amazon. It's possible that Amazon withdrew all Kindles because Target kept increasing the shelf space for Apple's iOS products. That seems a little silly given that Amazon wants its tablets on every physical store shelf. What's likely is that Target is fed up with Amazon's undercutting ways and will rely on Apple and Barnes & Noble to produce eReader revenue.
Currently Amazon has not released an official statement regarding Target's move.