Once again, the list of places where you can buy one of Amazon’s Kindles has gotten shorter. According to a new report from Reuters, low-cost retail titan Walmart has completely dropped Amazon’s full line of Kindle e-readers from its online and brick-and-mortar stores.
Don’t hold your breath for your local Wally World to stock new models like Kindle Fire HD or the Kindle Paperwhite either — it seems Walmart is making a clean break here.
It’s not the first time a major national retailer has opted to drop Amazon’s popular line of e-readers and tablets — Target made a similar decision back in May after “evaluating” its product assortment, though the company was quick to note in its clipped statement that it would still sell rival e-readers like Barnes & Noble’s Nook.
Unlike Target, which forecasted the Kindle’s exit from its inventory in advance, Walmart already seems to have done the deed. A quick search for “Kindle” on the Walmart site doesn’t yield much more than a slew of Android tablets, and a bit more digging reveals that the retailer may have been clearing out Kindle stock as early as last month.
The natural question to ask at this point is, well, why? If Walmart’s party line is to be believed, it’s simply because the company carries enough tablets and e-readers to make the Kindle unnecessary. The real reason may be more nuanced than that — the moves made by Walmart and Target seem more like the sign of a deepening schism between strictly online retailers and those with brick-and-mortar businesses to maintain.
Amazon has historically been pretty happy to drive wedges into that gap, too. Right at the peak of 2011’s holiday buying frenzy for instance, Amazon kicked off a new promotion for users of its mobile Price Check app — anyone who used it to price check a product in a brick-and-mortar retailer would receive a 5% discount off of that same product if purchased on Amazon. The fact that those discounts topped out at $5 (and Amazon never brought up how successful the promotion was) meant that its swaying power was questionable, but it clearly illustrated that Amazon was more than happy to reinforce the notion of physical retailers as showrooms while it laughed all the way to the bank.