Target Dumps Amazon Kindles Over Retail Rivalry

Target Book sectionApparently Kindles are the new Che Guevara CD cases at Target (TGT).

The cheap-chic retailer will discontinue the sale of Kindle e-readers and Amazon-branded products.

It's not business, (AMZN). It's just personal.

There's no denying that brick-and-mortar chains despise Amazon. Between the e-tailer's low overhead that helps it sell stuff at untouchable prices and its ability to skirt sales tax collection in all but a few states, Amazon may be a friend of the consumer, but there's no love lost between it and traditional retailers.

"Target continually evaluates its product assortment to deliver the best quality and prices for our guests," the discounter reveals in a statement published by The Verge.

That may be so, but if all of the Amazon gear will be discontinued in the coming weeks, why does Target plan to continue stocking Barnes & Noble's (BKS) Nook?

From Showrooming to Showboating

Target has been a vocal critic of the "showrooming" trend, in which consumers stroll its stores to kick the tires on items that they will ultimately buy through Amazon or other Web-based retailers for less.

Target's response has been to come up with exclusive items that are only sold at its stores. The company is also considering subscription plans in which shoppers get discounts on repeat purchases. However, it's not as if there has ever been a public feud between the two companies. If that were the case, Target would've never started stocking Kindles in the first place.

But as Amazon's market share of traditional purchases continues to grow -- and the very nature of the Kindle Fire tablet aims to replace physical book, CD, and DVD sales -- it's easy to see why Target isn't keen on enriching the enemy.

Che Chic

Kindles won't be the first product to be unceremoniously pulled from Target's shelves.

Target stopped selling Target-branded CD cases bearing the likeness of Che Guevara in 2006 after some right-leaning shoppers objected to the glorification of the violent rebel.

However, instead of removing a self-branded product that's politically polarizing, this time it's pulling the e-reader that happens to be a market leader. The Nook is a distant silver medalist in this niche. Even Best Buy (BBY) -- which has been a bigger victim of Amazon's booming success -- is still open to selling Kindle e-readers and Kindle Fire tablets.

Even if one can rightfully argue that it doesn't make sense for a retailer to sell a rival's device, Target just comes off as being petty here. Unless it can prove that it's keeping the Nook because it's a better seller, Target just appears jealous.

What's next? Will Target pull the Jeff Bezos CD cases, too?

Longtime Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Best Buy and Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of and writing puts on Barnes & Noble.

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May 04 2012 at 9:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan is the future, unfortunately. I shop at Amazon, mainly for the convenience of not having to go to the store. I do feel that it's costing people their jobs, though. If they sold cars and motorcycles, they would probably do just as well with that. Too bad, really. Technology waits for no one.

May 04 2012 at 1:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I forgot to mention.....most public libraries have digital books for borrowing. I think they have an 'expiration' date just like when borrowing a physical book.

May 04 2012 at 12:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I purchased my Nook Color and my granddaughters Nook Tablet at a brick and morter Barnes and Noble store. I like the personal help available there. I also browse their inventory and add books to my Nook while there. It's always a peasant shopping experience. Yes, I have purchased some books online from B&N when they send out their ads/promotions. When I purchase DVD's I get them with the digital copy so I can view them on my Nook.

Our Nooks have been totally positive purchase and use experiences.

May 04 2012 at 12:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Amazone Books to dowload are to costly.To rent a Amazone book 99Cent I can purchase a used book at the Library at 50Cents read it and pass it on or keep it if I like it.In this economy saving money is important.

May 04 2012 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As long as books are available in print format that will be my first choice. Long live the printed word on paper.

May 04 2012 at 10:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I blame Barrack Obama and the Liberal Democrats for this

May 03 2012 at 9:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can always find anything on amazon for less. Usually with free sdhipping. Target's electronic department stinks --amazon doesn't need Target.

May 03 2012 at 9:21 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Yet another reason why I cant stand to shop Target .....

May 03 2012 at 8:40 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to TheBird95632's comment

good..I'm glad I'll never see you in a Target...

May 03 2012 at 9:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah and i am sure you are just like the other PIGS that shop there.

May 04 2012 at 4:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Most of the stuffi buy nline is because the brick and mortar stores don't want to be bothered with a high inventory like 1GB and 2GB SD cards for older devices that handle the larger memory of today and if they do they cost more than the larger memory ones and the same goes for the memory sticks also.I find a lot of stuff online that retailers should be carrying in support of the products that they sell especially the expendable stuff the novelty stuff like saw blades,light bulbs,ink,batteries,etc.
Ever pay top dollar at a store only to find out that it has no support for it .

May 03 2012 at 7:26 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply