12 June 2012 by Dominic Lenton
At the time, the UK's biggest chain bookseller was less forthcoming about the details of how they plan to fight back than the Booksellers Association, which represents the many small independent bookstores who find themselves in the same boat.
Subsequent events explain why the people at Waterstones were being cagey. Shortly after my article appeared in the June issue of E&T as part of a special focus on how technology will shape the high street of the future, they announced a deal to sell Amazon's Kindle e-reader in hundreds of UK shops. Customers will also be able to "digitally browse" books in-store and take advantage of special offers if they buy there rather than waiting until they get home.
Meanwhile, in the US, Microsoft has sealed a multimillion dollar deal with Barnes and Noble that will make the bookseller's Nook device the e-reader of choice for the next Windows operating system.
Whether you think this is prescience on the part of the people who make a living selling books or a desperate attempt to avoid being left behind as readers give up on print and going the same way as the vacant units that used to be record shops, it's definitely another sign that shopping's getting to be hard work these days if you do it properly.
A colleague was telling me about an experience he had recently when buying some IT kit. Standing in the shop, he was able to use his smartphone to check the online price of what he was looking at on the shelf and saw that he could get a reasonable discount by placing an order online and picking up from the nearest store. A few minutes later, armed with a reservation number and was able to proceed to the checkout unencumbered by his purchase and slightly better off than he would have been if he'd put it in a real shopping trolley rather than a virtual one.
In getting us used to the idea of a bookshop being less a physical place with a limited number of titles on offer, and more of a portal to an almost limitless range of things to read, Waterstones and Barnes and Noble are only catching up with the reality of how we shop in the 21st century.
How long before a Kindle bookshop, along the lines of Apple's stores, opens its doors?
Read all about it:
Find out what's shaping the high street of the future - banks, estate agents, greengrocers and record stores as well as bookshops - in the June 2012 issue of E&T.
The Booksellers Association is campaigning to Keep Books on the High Street.
In the US, Microsoft is partnering with Barnes and Noble.
Waterstones MD James Daunt discussed the agreement to sell Amazon's Kindle in its UK stores at this year's Hay Festival.
Edited: 12 June 2012 at 03:21 PM by Wirebound Moderator
Posted By: Dominic Lenton @ 12 June 2012 01:08 PM General
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