Waterstone Looks at E-Reader Market with High Hopes; Barnes and Noble Nook-Inspired Device in Spring 2012

September 10, 2011, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

It isn’t enough to sell just those paperbacks to survive in a market that is technology-driven. With Amazon showing the way, it looks like yet another book seller is hopping on to the e-reader bandwagon. Though not a big name in the US, Britain’s book enthusiasts would know Waterstone has made it fairly big in book sales. Waterstone is mulling over making a new e-reader.

B&N Nook

Inspired by Barnes & Noble’s very successful Nook e-reader, Waterstone is building their Nook style device and might get into a partnership with a technology company to achieve their goal.

You might already know that B&N has a deal with Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn to make the Nook. Waterstone’s managing director James Daunt has gone on record saying that:

“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.”

Daunt told BBC Radio 4‘s You and Yours program that the Waterstone e-reader project was ‘well down the planning line’ and would launch in Spring 2012.

The B&N success story has given Daunt a few lessons to learn. In a scenario where Amazon had been ruling supreme, B&N was able to claw up the sales ladder with the Nook.  Daunt too thinks Waterstone’s falling sales could be reversed if an e-reader is pushed to the market without delay.

We would have to wait until the Spring of 2012 to know if Waterstone will be able to repeat the B&N feat. If they do, it is going to be some amount of healthy competition in the e-reader market. What do you think?

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