Ebook plan well underway, says Waterstone's MD...
Amazon's Kindle is about to get some competitionPhoto: Amazon
While Amazon's Kindle device is bestriding the e-reader market like a colossus, book chain Waterstone's reckons there's room for another make of e-reader in the UK – and has announced it's planning to start selling its own.
James Daunt, managing director of Waterstone's, said he had been inspired to create the Waterstone's e-reader by US bookseller Barnes and Noble which combines bricks and mortar shops with own-brand e-reader, the Nook.
"[Barnes and Noble] command the loyalty and indeed love of their customers, and their customers choose to buy their reading in both physical and digital form through them. That makes perfect sense to me.
"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 [Amazon], and you will have a much better buying experience purchasing your books through us, whether you're buying physical books or digital books, we don't mind which," he told Radio 4's You and Your programme.
Daunt said the process of creating the Waterstone's e-reader is already underway.
"That's well down the planning line, it just requires a certain investment and a certain confidence in the future, which we have," he said.
The Waterstone's e-reader is expect to launch next spring, according to Daunt.
The e-reader market is seeing solid growth, despite fears that the rise of tablet such as the iPad would erode sales: according to IDC forecasts the global e-reader market to ship 16.2 million units in 2011 – up 24 per cent on last year's figure.