UK book chain Waterstones strikes deal with Amazon to sell Kindle

By Lee Kaelin on May 21, 2012, 11:30 AM

Struggling UK book seller Waterstones announced today that it has signed a commercial agreement with Amazon to offer customers Amazon's Kindle e-readers as well as e-book related services across its almost 300 strong chain of stores in the UK.

Visitors to Waterstones stores will soon be able to purchase the popular Kindle e-readers, as well as digitally browse every book in the store and take advantage of special offers or promotions with the retailer. "The best digital readers, the Kindle family, will be married to the singular pleasures of browsing a curated bookshop," James Daunt, the book retailers managing director said in a statement.

Amazon.com founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos said "Waterstones is the premier High Street bookseller and is passionate about books and readers - a dedication that we share deeply." It is not currently clear when Waterstones will begin selling Kindle e-readers, or whether the UK will finally see the Kindle Fire arrive.

The store chain has been struggling for a while now, with consumer demand pushing more towards digital content, according to its MD. "People in publishing believe that books are recession-proof", he said, "but that's simply not true." The retailer enjoyed enormous success in the 1980's, but unfortunately was poorly managed by "people who weren't booksellers" and "made some idiotic decisions," according to Daunt.

Interestingly, in an interview with the Telegraph last year, Daunt labeled Amazon a "dispiriting" place to shop, and even went as far as to say the online retailer's business tactics were "utterly ruthless." He then summed it all up: "Unless you are offering more to customers and are doing it better than Amazon you are going to lose."

Waterstones, which is the UK's largest book seller is currently in the midst of a store refurbishment scheme that will create dedicated digital areas, free Wi-Fi and in-store coffee shops for customers.

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