When I reported last week that Waterstones managing director Jame Daunt was poo-pooing Waterstones’ Kindle sales, I speculated that Daunt may have been setting up a context for the retailer to walk away from its 2 year old deal with Amazon to sell the Kindle.
Some people ridiculed the suggestion, but suddenly that doesn’t seem like such a crazy idea. The Bookseller reported a rumor earlier today that UK retailer Tesco is in talks to sell its Blinkbox Books ebook sub to an unknown party:
Waterstones is in exclusive talks to buy Blinkbox books, The Bookseller understands.
Tesco is in exclusive talks with one buyer, thought to be Waterstones, with a deal expected to be finalised by the end of this week. The bookseller urgently needs a digital app-based proposition to rival competitors such as Amazon and Blinkbox books would supply that.
The deal, if done, raises questions about Waterstones’ stocking of Amazon’s Kindle e-readers and tablets.
Gee, I wonder who raised that question last week? Hmm, let me think about that.
Waterstones currently carries Kindle hardware in stores, and it also sells Epub ebooks from an ebookstore supported by OverDrive. Daunt is reportedly displeased with how well that ebookstore has been performing, and buying Blinkbox Books is one way to fix it.
Last week Tesco sold off another part of its Blinkbox digital sub, Blinkbox Movies. That was sold for an unknown sum to the telecom, TalkTalk. That sale raises this rumor from a possibility to a probability.
image by Pen Waggener