Waterstones CEO Says Deal to Sell Kindles Avoids ‘Bear Traps’

In the US, booksellers like Barnes & Noble consider Amazon to be The Great Satan. Look at how vehemently they have fought against the Department of Justice’s settlement that would enable Amazon to start discounting e-books again. But it seems as though the major bookstore chain on the other side of the Atlantic has just made a deal with the devil. At a recent Independent Publishers Guild meeting, Waterstones CEO James Daunt admitted that a recent deal the chain signed to start selling Kindles in its stores is fraught with difficulty, but that it managed to avoid “some of the most significant bear traps” and stands to gain considerable benefit from it.

The store will get a portion of Amazon sales but only those that take place through its in-store networks. It will also get the benefit of some Special Offers on the ad-supported Kindles, and have some kind of Read For Free plan in which, presumably, Kindle owners can read certain Waterstones e-books free in the store.

Amazon already sells its Kindles through a number of other UK bookstores, so perhaps Waterstones figures that if you can’t beat them, join them. Daunt made a number of other remarks at the meeting according to FutureBook. He didn’t think most Waterstones customers would actually care that the store sold Kindles, for one thing, and that the partnership would continue for as long as it was beneficial to Waterstones.

At any rate, businesses will happily make deals with other businesses if they think there are more benefits than drawbacks. If Waterstones thinks Kindles can draw more people to its stores, more power to it. It remains to be seen whether or not that will actually be the case.

About Chris Meadows (90 Articles)
Chris Meadows, Editor of TeleRead, has been writing about e-books and mobile devices since 1999: first for ThemeStream, later for Jeff Kirvin's Writing on Your Palm, and then for TeleRead starting in 2006. He has also contributed a few articles to The Digital Reader along the way. Chris has bought e-books from Peanut Press/eReader, Fictionwise, Baen, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, the Humble Bundle, and others. He is a strong believer in using Calibre to keep his library organized.

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