Reuters is reporting today that Walmart has circulated an internal memo which mentions plan to discontinue stocking Amazon’s ereaders and Android tablets. No specific reason is given, but that’s a far less important detail than the fact it happened at all.
“We have recently made the business decision to not carry Amazon tablets and eReaders beyond our existing inventory and purchase commitments,” Wal-Mart said in a memo sent to store managers dated Wednesday. “This includes all Amazon Kindle models current and recently announced.”
A Walmart rep has confirmed this story, and said that the decision was consistent with its overall business strategy but did not provide any more details as to why. But the spokesman did remind us that Walmart carries an extensive selection of ereaders and tablets on their website, which is true. Walmart’s website has a selection that is second only to Amazon, and may even surpass it. But none of those ereaders and tablets are carried in store due to limited display space.
Walmart is in fact the second major US retailer to stop carrying Amazon’s hardware. Target made a similar decision to drop the Kindle back in May of this year, and Target also stopped carrying the Kobo Touch a couple months later (in July).
Neither chain has explained their motivations but in the case of Target their later decisions to carry ebook and magazine gift cards provided some context. And even without an explanation, it is easy to guess their motivation.
Walmart, Target, and all of Amazon’s brick-and-mortar partners are allowed to sell the Kindle in store but not on their websites. They are in effect giving a major competitor free advertising space on their store shelves. It may have taken a while but eventually they did realize that this was counter-productive.
image by galaygobi