Waterstones to stop selling e-books

The Publishers Association says that sales of physical books are now rising as e-books are falling


Zlata Rodionova
Monday 23 May 2016 15:38
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.
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.

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

Online retailer Amazon has started to sell book the old fashioned way with its first brick-and-mortar store, which opened its doors in Seattle in November 2015.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in