Waterstones has announced that it’s replacing Kindles from its stores with physical books due to “pitiful” sales of the e-reader.
The company’s managing director James Daunt told The Bookseller that it’s scaling back on the Amazon-made e-reader, following a 5% increase in print book sales last December.
“Sales of Kindles continue to be pitiful so we are taking the display space back in more and more shops,” he explained.
“It feels very much like the life of one of those inexplicable bestsellers: one day, piles and piles, selling like fury; the next, you count your blessings with every sale because it brings you closer to getting it off your shelves forever to make way for something new. Sometimes, of course, they ‘bounce’ – but no sign yet of this being the case with Kindles.”
According to statistics from The Guardian, the overall value of physical book sales in the UK has fallen slightly year-on-year, while e-books have increased. However, e-books remain well behind printed ones, with sales of £563m – compared to £2.74bn for physical books – in 2014.
Amazon doesn’t appear fazed by Waterstones’ move, however. “We are pleased with the positive momentum and growing distribution of Kindle and Fire tablet sales,” said the retailer. “Our devices are now available in over 2,500 retail locations across the UK, including Argos, Tesco, Dixons, John Lewis and recent additions like Sainsbury’s, Boots and Shop Direct. Our UK, US and worldwide Kindle book sales are growing in 2015.”
The print market is also going from strength to strength across the Pond. Nielsen Bookscan found that sales of physical books in the US in the first 36 weeks of 2015 were up by 3.6% compared to the same period the year before.
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