Waterstones will develop and release a new e-reader early next year to compete with the Amazon Kindle in the UK.
The company is one of the last large brick and mortar bookstores left in the United Kingdom. Many of its competitors have closed up shop, such as Borders and Books Etc. The company’s managing director, James Daunt, said that he had been inspired by the Nook, US bookseller Barnes & Noble’s e-reader.
“We in Waterstone’s need to offer you a digital reader which is at least as good, and preferably substantially better, than that of our internet rival, and you will have a much better buying experience purchasing your books through us,” Mr Daunt told BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours program.
So it seems Waterstones is going for the Barnes and Noble effect to stimulate its sales by launching its own self-branded e-reader to sell in their retail locations. This is a strategic move on their part because they do sell e-readers in their stores such as Sony, Elonex, and Cybook. They even have an ebook area on their website that they encourage patrons to purchase from.
James Daunt is behind the B&N concept of allowing people to download and read books for free and offer incentives for people who own the e-reader to come into the store. He also strongly hinted at providing free coffee and pastries for e-reader owners.
There is no word yet on what hardware manufacturer with whom the company has decided to partner up, and there is a lack of technical specifics. We do know the company will be making an official announcement in a few days.