Target has announced it will stop selling Kindles in its stores, depriving shoppers of one of the few venues in which they can look at and use Amazon's tablets and e-book readers before they buy one.
The chain's move seems to have been driven by so-called "show-rooming," the industry term for the practice of consumers viewing products in retail stores before buying them online. Some reports on the decision cite missives from Target to manufacturers lamenting the trend and asking for help in combating it. Other coverage sees the move as linked to Target's continued experimentation with displays of Apple products in some of its stores.
Whatever the reasons, the move now leaves Staples and Best Buy stores as among the only retailers at which you can actually get your hands on a Kindle.
Among those two chains, Consumer Reports readers were more satisfied when buying major electronics items at the office-supplies store than the electronics specialist, according to our Ratings of places to buy electronics.
Staples received higher scores than Best Buy (and also Target) both overall and for customer service during their electronics purchase. Indeed, overall, Staples was on a par for electronics buying with Apple stores, though the Apple locations received higher scores for customer service.
Target's move may also offer a boost of sorts to Barnes & Noble, whose retail stores have dedicated departments to demo their Nook tablets and e-book readers. And, as with Apple products at the Genius bars in Apple stores, the B&N locations do double duty as hands-on support centers for Nook owners.