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Target pulls Kindle from virtual shelves, physical ones may follow

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Since 2010, Target has happily hawked Amazon's e-reading wares. The retailer even carved out a branded corner of its online shop just for the Kindle. Now though, that store within a store is empty and conspicuously missing from Target's virtual shelves is Amazon's entire Kindle line. Sure, a few accessories remain, but the readers themselves are gone. What's more, according to an internal memo obtained by The Verge, the products will be cease to be restocked at the company's brick and mortar locations starting May 13th. The communique states that, after evaluation, Target "has made the decision to no longer carry Amazon hardware."

The reasoning behind the banishment isn't clear, but the potential causes are practically endless. Amazon's vast online repository of goods, including some grocery items, makes it a direct competitor of the big box outlet. Target continues to carry the Nook and Kobo e-readers, but those company's don't challenge the retailer. It's also possible that, with mini Apple Stores opening up on its premises, Cupertino put some pressure on Target to clear out its competitors. It could also be as simple as collapsed contract negotiations, with Target failing to get as big a cut of sales as it wanted or, and this is a bit of a stretch, the Minneapolis company could be preparing to launch its own e-reading hardware. Neither Amazon nor Target has responded to our requests for comment at this time.

Update: Target has affirmed the move to Reuters, with the following statement: "Target is phasing out Amazon- and Kindle-branded products in the spring of 2012."

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