Wal-Mart giving the boot to Amazon's Kindles

Faith Merino · September 20, 2012 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/2a50

The big box retailer will no longer sell Kindles, but will continue to sell iPads and other devices

In a move that really highlights the different markets that the iPad and the Kindle Fire are in, major global retailer and corporate world-domination seeker Wal-Mart has made the decision to stop selling Kindle e-readers and tablets.  Interestingly, though, it will continue to sell Apple’s iPad and even Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet.

Reuters first reported on this after an internal memo was sent out to all Wal-Mart store managers on Wednesday to inform them of the decision.

"We have recently made the business decision to not carry Amazon tablets and eReaders beyond our existing inventory and purchase commitments.  This includes all Amazon Kindle models current and recently announced,” the company said in the memo.

When asked for clarification on Wal-Mart’s decision, a company spokesperson told VatorNews:

“Our customers trust us to provide a broad assortment of products at everyday low prices, and we approach every merchandising decision through this lens.  This decision is consistent with our overall merchandising strategy.” 

Keeping it nice and vague.  Statements like this make me wonder why they even bother.  They might as well be saying, “Mind your own f*cking business.”

Wal-Mart isn’t the only major big box retailer to give Kindles the boot.  In May, Target announced that it would be shucking the e-readers and tablets, but unlike Wal-Mart, it specified its reasons for doing so: the company was sick of online-only retailers like Amazon using Target stores as a showroom, encouraging customers to check out products in-person in brick-and-mortar stores (like Target and Wal-Mart) and then undercutting their prices.

Amazon really pushed it last holiday season when it offered a 5% off promotion for customers who used its Price Check app.  In other words, it encouraged customers to go into a brick-and-mortar store, scan an item, and then purchase it through Amazon instead.  (The Price Check app was already a little evil to begin with, since it’s literally designed to target and redirect customers as they’re getting ready to make a purchase in a brick-and-mortar store.)

Like Target, Wal-Mart will continue to sell other tablets and e-readers, including the iPad and B&N’s Nook products.  Obviously, iPad and Nook users can shop just as easily from their devices as Kindle Fire users can, so in theory, if Wal-Mart is nixing Kindles to cut down on competition, they should be axing all tablets.  But in truth, Amazon is an online retailer and the Kindle Fire is a vehicle to sell more of their content and products—stuff that Wal-Mart and Target are also selling.  No other tablet or e-reader poses this kind of threat to retailers.

Additionally, as Reuters also points out, Amazon is widely believed to have a smaller profit margin on the sale of its Kindle products, since they’re more of a means to an end, which probably means retailers who sell Kindle products don’t get as much of a cut.

The timing of the decision is interesting, as the holiday season is set to kick off in a few weeks.  Amazon will likely suffer a blow (however small) to its Kindle sales without the help of major big box retailers like Target and Wal-Mart.  But will the move help those retailers at all? 


Image source: myfrugaladventures.com

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