In the United States, megastore chain Wal-Mart has stopped selling Kindles in what is being cast by media as further evidence of a war between offline giants fearful of the ever encroaching tides of ecommerce.
In a note to store managers, Wal-Mart (which is the biggest retailer in the world) said: “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.”
It seems to me that Amazon (unsurprisingly) is very keen to protect the price points and brand of the Kindle and that has probably made it a difficult product to sell in Bricks and Mortar stores with a decent margin. It’s also interesting to note that earlier this month, Amazon hiked the fees for third parties selling Kindle accessories on Amazon to 40.25%. That also seemed like an act of protectionism.
For companies such as Wal-Mart, the Kindle has been seen as a “trojan horse” for Amazon allowing them to have their brand in-store but with all future transactions occuring online. Currently Kindle attracts 60% of all ebooks sales stateside.
If you’re looking for fairly beefy comment on this move, I liked this piece in Forbes.