Waterstones to stop selling e-books as it ties up with Kobo

Waterstones Piccadilly store Image copyright Getty Images

The UK's largest book retailer Waterstones has announced it will stop selling digital books.

The company will instead divert its e-book customers to digital book specialist Kobo.

Waterstones boss James Daunt said Kobo provided "an excellence of service we ourselves are unable to match".

The decision to pull out of e-books is the retailer's latest move away from digital after its shops stopped selling Kindle e-readers in October.

From 14 June, Waterstones will start sending emails to customers about how to transfer their e-book libraries to Japanese-owned Kobo.

The rise of the e-book


share of UK book purchases

  • 47% share of adult fiction

  • £393m spent on e-books

  • £1.7bn amount spent on print books

Michael Tamblyn, chief executive of Kobo, said: "We are pleased to be working with Waterstones, where we can help a great print retailer by supporting their customers who also love to read digitally."

Waterstones has focused on improving its experience for customers, including with specialist staff and in-store cafes, since it was acquired by Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut from HMV in 2011.

The business made a profit of £5.4m last year as a result of cutting costs and a 1% growth in sales to £378m.

Earlier this year, Barnes & Noble, the US bookseller behind the e-book brand Nook, stopped selling digital books in the UK.

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