If you were planning to swing by your local Target to buy a Kindle some time soon, you may want to add a little pep to your step. An inside source told The Verge that Amazon’s line of Kindle e-readers and tablets would soon disappear from Target’s store shelves, due to an unspecified “conflict of interest.”
Sales of Amazon’s hardware hasn’t dried up just yet though — that same source sent along an internal memo that points to May 13 (i.e. Mothers Day) as the point after which store stock would no longer be replenished.
Though there’s no official word on why the split is taking place, the rationale behind it must be a doozy. After all, Target was tapped as the first brick-and-mortar retailer to offer Amazon’s e-readers and has been slinging Kindles for just over two years now (even ahead of more gadget-friendly stores like Best Buy). Before that, Target also spent a long time leaning on Amazon to power their e-commerce offerings — from 2001 to 2011, to be more specific.
It’s also worth noting that Target referred to the Kindle Fire as their best selling tablet during Black Friday 2011, a factoid that Amazon placed front and center in their exultory press release. So what gives?
As it turns out, Apple may have a hand in this situation — The Verge notes that Apple recently inked a deal with the red-tinted retailer to launch 25 mini-stores within existing Target locations. Somehow, that doesn’t strike me as being the deciding factor, especially considering that Apple and Amazon (not to mention Kobo and Barnes and Noble) products have managed to co-exist just fine on Target’s shelves for years. Still, the possibility exists that Amazon bristled at the notion of Apple products getting more visibility than theirs despite Amazon’s considerable history with Target.
I’ve reached out to both Target and Amazon for an official comment, but neither could comment at time of writing.