Waterstones to sell Amazon's Kindle book reader

Image caption,
Jeff Bezos described Waterstones as the UK's premier bookseller

UK bookseller Waterstones is to sell Amazon's Kindle book-reader and launch other Kindle digital services.

Waterstones says the deal will dovetail with its current store refurbishment scheme, which is creating dedicated areas for digital books, free wireless internet and new coffee shops.

With almost 300 stores, Waterstones is the UK's biggest bookseller.

Last month, US bookseller Barnes and Noble teamed up with Microsoft to develop its digital book reader.

Microsoft invested $300m (£185m) in the venture which could make Barnes and Noble's e-book reader, the Nook, available to millions of new customers.

Key competitor

As well as selling the Kindle device, Waterstones will allow Kindle users to digitally browse books and take advantage of Waterstones' special offers.

In a statement, James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones, said: "The best digital readers, the Kindle family, will be married to the singular pleasures of browsing a curated bookshop."

Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder and chief executive, said: "Waterstones is the premier High Street bookseller and is passionate about books and readers - a dedication that we share deeply."

Analysts say that Waterstones has little choice but to ally itself with Amazon.

"If readers are increasingly downloading books, then it is better for Waterstones to embrace that behaviour than to try and work round it," said Douglas McCabe from Enders Analysis, told the BBC.

"Kindle has a massive market share of digital book reading in the UK, and Waterstones will start to take a cut of it.

"However, for all its success, Amazon does not have a solution for 'discovery' in physical or digital [books] that even comes close to the merchandising skills inside a branch of Waterstones," Mr McCabe added.

Last month, US retail giant Target said that it would stop selling Amazon's Kindle.

Analysts said Target's move reflected concern that Amazon is becoming a serious competitor in areas outside of books.

Last year, Amazon launched a mobile application which allows users to scan products in-store and shows Amazon's rival price.

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