Seems to be a bit of a battle commencing for market share in e-readers when the Sony e-reader hits our shores later this year. I have to confess I’ve only been mildly interested in e-readers from a business perspective – not really as a user. I’m a bit behind the times to be honest – haven’t even managed to invest in an ipod yet (the shame…)…

But I was interested when a colleague told me this morning that Waterstones are claiming exclusive rights to selling the e-reader when it launches. Clearly a statement setting up not only the e-reader against the Amazon Kindle but setting up some direct competition between the two booksellers.

What I find particularly interesting about this soon-to-be battle is the idea that the product is being bought to make e-content portable. So does this have any bearing on whether the Kindle (sold by the great e-tailer), or the e-reader (brought into the UK marketing by the largest highstreet book retailer) will see greater take up.


Perhaps being sold on the highstreet or through e-tail actually has no real bearing on eventual uptake: certainly sales of other portable devices (e.g. the i-pod) occur on street level and through e-tail, but I can’t think of an example of pitting two new brands against each other like this. Also I am kind of discounting Waterstone’s abilities to generate online sales: I don’t have the figures on what their online sales are like: perhaps they are quite high, but I doubt they are comparable to Amazon’s figures.

There are obviously other factors to consider too: I attended a presentation in February that strongly suggested the e-reader is the better beast – better functionality, usability, and ultimately (I think?) a better price. If there’s going to be a move towards widespread e-book use, all these factors will most certainly come into play. Look forward to seeing where this one goes.