The Amazon Kindle range has become the ebook reader in the way the iPod became the MP3 player ten years ago. And now Waterstones will start selling the devices, in spite of offering backing for several of the series’s rivals in the past.
Back in 2008, Waterstones teamed-up with Sony to sell its Reader devices on the high street. And in 2010, the high street book retailer made a similar deal with ereader maker iRiver. Backing the underdog rivals of the Amazon Kindle was something of a trend.
However, Waterstones has confirmed it is to get in bed with the popular kids, with plans to stock the Kindle family of ereaders. This comes as part of a store refurbishment scheme that will see a renewed focus on digital aspects of the book world – with new Wi-Fi hotspots and dedicated digital zones within stores.
This all-but-kills rumours that Waterstones was to release its own eReader, circulated in September last year. Unusually, these weren’t the stuff of pure hot air, though. Waterstones MD James Daunt hinted at plans for the device in a Radio 4 interview, citing the Barnes & Noble Nook as inspiration.
Daunt also had plenty to say about the new Amazon deal, “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.”
The Waterstones website previously offered a number of ereader devices from a variety of different manufacturers. However, this part of the website has since been emptied. Could this mean that Waterstones has agreed a monogamous, exclusive relationship with the Kindle?