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Waterstones ditches ebooks and audiobooks

Major high street book retailer Waterstones is getting out of the ebook game altogether.

The British book seller has around 275 stores around the UK and Europe, and is the biggest and most recognisable dedicated book seller in Britain.

Now Waterstones has opted to place all of its eggs in one decidedly physical basket. The company has announced that the Waterstones digital download store is closing down, and that customers will only be able to access their digital libraries until June 13.

From June 14, Kobo will be taking over all Waterstones e-book accounts, and Waterstones will be sending customers an email with a personalised link to transfer their eBooks to a new Kobo account.

It’s not just e-books that are for the chop at Waterstones, either. It’s also doing away with its audiobook section from June 13. What’s worse is that there’s no Kobo partner equivalent through which you can continue to access your existing audiobook library after this date.

If you have ever bought an audiobook through Waterstones, then, it’s advised that you download the relevant MP3 files pretty sharpish.

Waterstones has been winding down its digital offering for some time now. Back in October of last year, it ceased selling Amazon Kindle readers in its shops.

Related: Best eBook readers

At the time, managing director James Daunt was openly dismissive of Amazon’s ereader offering. “Sales of Kindles continue to be pitiful, so we are taking the display space back in more and more shops,” he said.

He also likened the Kindle to “one of those inexplicable bestsellers” that sells in droves for a brief period before drying up entirely.

Next, take a look at our Amazon Kindle Oasis review video:

Is Waterstones right to focus on physical books, or should it have improved its e-book service instead? Let us know what you think in the comments below

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