In the competitive world of ebook readers, giant companies are fighting endlessly to have their way. It seems that Target has lost its patience with companies that have been continuously slashing their prices and in response, has ripped the whole stock. With this move, the new generation of devices had to lower their prices to extreme levels, as Target wants to remove the complete existing stock.
This is great news for customers who can save a bunch for these new generation devices. But customers may not enjoy this much pleasure in the future as Target seems to want get out of the ebook reader business completely.
In the beginning, Target worked with the readers very enthusiastically. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony and iRiver all worked under its banner. Now it seems that the company has stopped working for any of these companies alltogether. The top reasons are its increasing partnership with Apple and the extremely slashed prices by major companies resulting in low profits.
When iRiver Story HD was released, Target was its only distributor in the US. From the introductory price of $129.99, its price slashed to $99.99 and finally to $49.99 due to cumbersome response it gathered. After a short time, it was officially removed from sales.
The Amazon Kindle enjoyed great success when it joined Target in May 2010. After a continual success period of two years, in May 2012 Target suspended its membership with Amazon for a number of reasons including its refined partnership and agreements with Apple and lack of profit margin.
Barnes & Noble struck a partnership with Target in October 2011. Target proved to be a gold mine for B&N and is still enjoying a thriving partnership even after Target has suspended its agreements with Amazon, iRiver etc .
Kobo, the Canadian based company has had a tremulous relationship with the US market. After its unsuccessful partnership with Borders, the Vox and Kobo Touch ebook readers were sold through Target in early 2012. Now it looks like Target has dropped Kobo from its sales.
It quite obvious that Target has completely lost its patience, seeing the slim profit margin from ebook readers. Actually, real money doesn’t lie in selling the devices but in the selling of content where retailers do not have part to play. Amazon are clever in their approach, as they deliberately sell their devices at low prices, knowing profit is in the contents sale. But Target has now struck a deal with Livrada to sell novels and bestsellers in digital form through pre-paid cards.
Due to the continuous tug between major giants, independent companies like Onyx Box, Pocketbook and Bookeen have no chance to make their presence known in the market. They cannot lower their prices and can’t compete with giants because of ill-developed digital system.
In conclusion, this war of price-slashing benefits the customers in the end. But things look grim for the ebook reader market as it will become very tough to find the latest devices in the market. The alternatives can be Shop e-Readers or eBay or other retail chains. Target was near to everyone but now, it will be hard to find a Sony or Barnes & Noble store in every location.