Waterstones, the UK’s largest book retailer, has announced it will stop selling digital books after e-books sales failed to take off.
The retailer will divert its e-book readers to Kobo, a reading platform owned by the Japan’s e-commerce giant Rakuten.
Customers will have until June 13 to download and save their purchases, after that date the only way to access their libraries will be through Kobo’s platform.
Waterstones will be contacting customers with instructions on how to proceed.
Kobo has become one of the largest rivals to Amazon’s Kindle after it struck a deal with high street chains including WHSmith.
“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. We look forward to ensuring that customers who have built e-book libraries with Waterstones will be able to enjoy them in the future with Kobo,” said Michael Tamblyn, CEO of Rakuten Kobo.
The news comes after Waterstones, one of the earliest sellers of ebooks in the UK, took the decision to stop selling Amazon Kindle e-readers in most of its stores in October last year.
James Daunt, chief executive of Waterstones previously told the Bookseller the company had “no presence in e-books” and added there were “no plans” to acquire an e-book platform to boost digital sales.
The popularity of digital books seems to be falling at the same time as book sales are increasing again.
The Publishers Association – the trade association of the book publishing industry –reported that ebook sales fell by 1.6 per cent to £554 million in 2015, the first fall since the it started monitoring the digital book sales seven years ago. Meanwhile physical book sales went up from £2.7 billion to £2.76 billion.
Barnes & Noble, the US bookseller behind the e-book brand Nook, has stopped selling digital books in the UK. The decion came after the company reported sales of Nook dropped by a third to $51.7 million (£36.4 million) in its third quarter, ending January 2016
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