Last year, Waterstones’ Managing Director, James Daunt described the eReader trend as a ‘ruthless, money-making devil’. Today, the renowned UK store is preparing its shelves for an influx of Amazon Kindles to sell on the high street.
Other Kindle digital services will also be available within the 300 outlets, in what has been acclaimed as a great forward-thinking move from Waterstones. The announcement also comes as part of an entire refurbishment project currently being undertaken, and is an interestingly polar-opposite approach to one taken by a store in the US last month.
In that instance, Target revealed it would be stopping its sales of the Kindle, in what translated as a rebellious backlash to Amazon’s recent online success. Many high street chains have suffered recently due to this ecommerce and multichannel style of retailing, but Waterstones’ most recent acquisition could prove to be a clever bit of business.
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As part of this all-encompassing strategy, Waterstones will also encourage customers to browse and experience the devices in store, enhancing the store’s status as a progressive and adaptable company.
The combination between the two giants of modern reading is one that Daunt believes compliments each other perfectly: "The best digital readers, the Kindle family, will be married to the singular pleasures of browsing a curated bookshop."
He has also indicated that Waterstones could even be working on an eReader of its own, suggesting that there should be no limit to the amount of rival brands that can be harnessed in one store. At the end of the day, all sales will benefit the retailer itself on some level.
"You'll walk into a Waterstones and there'll be a bit of the shop where you can look at e-readers, play with them. We're inventing one of our own…and we're working on the Barnes & Noble approach. They've embedded their own e-book, called the Nook, within their bookshops and have succeeded in taking market share from the Kindle," Daunt explained.
He continued: “At Waterstones, we are committed to improving our bookshops quite radically to offer the best possible book buying experience. It is a truly exciting prospect to harness also the respective strengths of Waterstones and Amazon to provide a dramatically better digital reading experience for our customers.”
Amazon Chief Executive, Jeff Bezoz echoed Daunt’s feelings on the partnership, also realising the enhanced scope for both companies: "Waterstones is the premier High Street bookseller and is passionate about books and readers - a dedication that we share deeply."