Waterstone’s are preparing to launch an e-reader device next spring, according to the company’s managing director James Daunt.
Inspired by the success of US highstreet bookseller Barnes and Noble and their well-received Nook e-reader, Daunt told Raido 4 that the project was “well down the planning line”, marking the booksellers first steps towards their own branded hardware.
Physical booksales on the highstreet have seen steep decline over the past few years following the monumental growth of Amazon, and the growing popularity of e-reading devices like Amazon’s own Kindle.
As a result, Waterstone’s has had a major shake-up this year after being bought from HMV Group by Russian businessman Alexander Mamut. Daunt has returned to the company after several year’s absence to better guide the company through an age of technological intrusion on the traditional bookselling market.
It’s as-yet unknown what the Waterstones reader will look like, or which electronics manufacturers they will partner with to bring the device to stores, but it seems that like-it-or-lump-it, bookshops are having to bring the digital book fight right to rivals Amazon in order to say afloat.