On the same day in May earlier this year that it was announced that HMV had agreed the sale of Waterstone's to Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut for £53 million, after coming under increasing pressure by online retail rivals such as Amazon, Play and iTunes, Amazon revealed that digital editions had now overtaken all sales of print editions, hard and paperback.

No surprise then that Waterstone's is taking the lead set by its American equivalent Barnes & Noble, and is planning on releasing an eBook reading device of its own.

Waterstone's MD James Daunt also indicated that the bookseller has Amazon in its sights. He told BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme: "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, and you will have a much better buying experience purchasing your books through us."

The device's production is "well down the planning line," according to Daunt - with a spring 2012 launch planned.

With Sony also a major player in the eBook reader market, and content providers such as Google getting in on the action too, it's one of the fastest growing areas in tech.

Whether there's room for a high street brand at the top table remains to be seen.