Target Ends Their Kindle Chapter


Amazon and Target used to be good buddies. Amazon helped run Target’s website, Target was the first place outside of to sell Kindles. It looks like that friendship is over, as Target has announced rather abruptly that mid-May they will be dropping the entire Kindle line from Target stores due to a “conflict of interest”. However, arch-rival NOOK will be still be carried by Target, making it clear this is specific to Amazon.

So what changed? Target isn’t saying, and neither is Amazon, but it isn’t hard to read between the lines here. Amazon was the big winner in this partnership, and Target did not benefit equally. Amazon had a place to promote and sell the Kindle, which ties customers to Amazon’s main business-undercutting brick and mortar stores with lower prices. Target had one hot item for their electronics department, but it wasn’t an exclusive, and it was far from a major draw. Somehow, I think the “conflict of interest” was simply that Target felt Amazon’s existence didn’t mesh well with Target’s future.

It is interesting timing for Target, and very, very fascinating that they timed this the same week that B&N received a boost from Microsoft (and that the NOOK gets special mention as being an active inventory item at Target). Effectively, the ebook market is slowly moving against Amazon. It isn’t that they are attacking them, but they aren’t going to make it easy for them either. It’s the nature of business, and in a volatile market like ebooks there’s plenty of opportunity for both sides to draw blood. While I don’t think the end of agency pricing is the catalyst for all of this, it is eyebrow-raising timing that the proponents of agency pricing claimed it was to keep Amazon in line…and now more and more natural business obstacles and challenges seem to rise against Amazon. Almost as though the free market is working!

What is not clear is what will happen to the Kindle accessories Target sells. I assume the Kindles themselves will simply go back to Amazon, but I plan to check my local Target starting later this week, just in case there are some good accessory deals!

Did you buy your Kindle at Target? Will this affect you in any way? Let us know in the comments!


Categories: eBooks

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4 replies

  1. “Amazon’s existence didn’t mesh well with Target’s future.”

    Or rather … Amazon’s future didn’t mesh well with Target’s existence!  :)

    My Kindle (Fire) came from Amazon.  I have heard rumors of a clearance sale … so I will keep an eye on my local Target.

    • Exactly. It’s like getting into a fight: depending on who you ask, person A’s nose got in the way of person B’s fist, or vice versa.
      I am hoping to hit my local target tonight or tomorrow. Honestly, I don’t NEED anything kindle related but I am always up for a deal. :)

  2. My guess is that Target was tired of people coming into their stores, searching their convenient Amazon app on their phone to compare prices, and then buying from Amazon instead. I did this myself a few weeks ago, though I think I had good reason: Target’s web site had a Kitchen Aid mixer online at $250, so went into the store to buy one for a wedding gift (we couldn’t wait for Target’s shipping) – where it was $280, and the store said that online prices are online only and will not be matched in the store. Amazon had it for $240 – lost sale for Target, and free Amazon Prime 2 day shipping was good enough for me. (I’ve more than saved the $75 with Amazon Prime in well less than the last year.)
    Target is definitely not as good a store as they once were – they now seem to have decided that selling groceries is more important than typical department store merchandise, so I guess I’ll just continue buying online. Even when they start adding sales tax – at least I know if the stuff is in stock before I waste an hour of my time traveling back and forth to find that what I need is not in stock (or a different price from the online price – c’mon now!)

    • That’s probably exactly what it is.

      And I agree with your experience. I find Target is good for specific things-last minute cards, random household items, durable running clothes, etc. The grocery section is nice, but it is heavy on super processed frozen stuff. I have used the fresh section if I am in Target for some other purpose and grabbing fruit, yogurt or cheese from them saves time over another grocery store stop, but it certainly isn’t robust enough to be a main draw.
      But I don’t think I have purchased a major item from them in a long time. Except a microwave, but that was because we just needed something small and relatively cheap, and Target for $60 was better than Amazon’s more expensive offerings with no Prime shipping. Also, we really needed a new microwave.