Brick-and-mortar bookshop chain Waterstones are to begin selling the Amazon Kindle eReader, turning their back on their initial plan to launch their own rival digital reading device.
Waterstones have been going through a significant period of restructuring since being bought out by Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut from HMV for £53 million roughly a year ago, with the new plans will also seeing Wi-Fi zones and coffee shops popping up within the high-street retailer’s stores.
However, selling Amazon’s eReader sees Waterstones getting in bed with the enemy, with both Amazon’s digital eReader and cut-price online book sales one of the biggest contributors to Waterstones recent retail struggles.
A bullish James Daunt, Waterstones’ managing director, had even previously said that the company planned to bring the fight with Amazon with “a digital reader which is at least as good, and preferably substantially better, than that of our internet rival, and will [offer] a much better buying experience purchasing through us.”
It’s an about turn for Daunt though, who sees in the latest press release that:
“At Waterstones, we are committed to improving our bookshops quite radically to offer the best possible book buying experience. The best digital readers, the Kindle family, will be married to the singular pleasures of browsing a curated bookshop. With the combination of our talents we can offer the exceptional customer proposition to which we both aspire.”
Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, also sang the praises of the long-running book chain:
“Waterstones is the premier high street bookseller and is passionate about books and readers – a dedication that we share deeply. We could never hope for a better partner to bring together digital reading and the physical bookstore.”
By Gerald Lynch | May 21st, 2012