Waterstones is to stock the Amazon Kindle as part of its major store refurbishment scheme. Alongside new free Wi-Fi zones, in-store coffee shops and dedicated digital areas, the UK retailer will be selling the Kindle family of devices.
In addition, Waterstones will allow Kindle users to browse for books digitally and take advantage of in-store special offers and discounts.
Full details of the commercial agreement between the 30-year-old book chain and Amazon have not been disclosed, although Waterstones promises more information will be made available in the Autumn.
The retailer was sold to Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut by HMV for £53 million almost a year ago, and there were subsequent rumours that it was to launch its own eBook reader to rival the Kindle. Waterstones' managing director James Daunt even said that the company planned to offer "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".
It now seems that the Amazon deal will put those ambitions to rest - with Daunt even releasing a statement fawning over the company's rival device.
"At Waterstones, we are committed to improving our bookshops quite radically to offer the best possible book buying experience," said Daunt.
"The best digital readers, the Kindle family, will be married to the singular pleasures of browsing a curated bookshop. With the combination of our talents we can offer the exceptional customer proposition to which we both aspire."
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, offers reciprocal praise: "Waterstones is the premier high street bookseller and is passionate about books and readers - a dedication that we share deeply. We could never hope for a better partner to bring together digital reading and the physical bookstore."
Would you sit in an actual bookshop reading eBooks on a Kindle? Let us know in the comments below...
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