Waterstones to sell Amazon Kindle in possibly unwise move

UK book retailer Waterstones is going to start selling Amazon's Kindle, apparently shelving plans for its own ebook reader.

Waterstones is to start selling Amazon's Kindle ebook readers in its bookshops, apparently shelving plans to construct its own Kindle-rivalling gadget.

As well as flogging Amazon's rival device, Waterstones says this year it will set up 'dedicated digital areas', as well as free Wi-Fi access in its stores.

Last September Waterstones vowed to create its own ebook reader to rival the Kindle, with bosses proclaiming its own gadget would be "at least as good, and preferably substantially better than that of our Internet rival".

It seems with this new alliance, those plans have been shelved. Waterstones told me it has "no other reader on the way", so don't expect to see a rival appearing any time soon. 

Waterstones primarily sells books made of mushy tree, so you'd think it would be less keen on the idea of inviting the all-consuming digital company into its brick-and-mortar shops.

I've tried to puzzle out a way the move could help Waterstones, but this does feel rather like the three little pigs offering to pay for the wolf's deep breathing classes.

Perhaps the plan is to lure shoppers inside Waterstones with the promise of somewhere to sit and read their Kindle in comfort, then persuade them to splash out on a big glossy coffee table book while they're at it.

More details on the partnership will be announced in the autumn. If you want to see Waterstones boss James Daunt explaining the curious move, check out the video embedded below.

Is Waterstones smart to ally with Amazon? Or has it put its own business at risk? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.

About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.


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