Bookseller WHSmith has struck a deal with Dixons to embed an ebook download app on e-readers and tablet devices sold by the electricals group.
The tie-up increases competition in the ebooks market by providing WHSmith with more opportunity to grab share in the fast growing category. It will also allow Dixons to extend its reach in associated technology fields and give customers added value through partnership with a strong bookselling brand.
WHSmith’s app and other services are expected to be installed in suitable e-readers and products such as Dixons’ new own-brand Advent tablet range, which will be launched in stores at the start of next month. The venture will be backed up with WHSmith-branded marketing material in Currys and PC World stores and online.
Earlier this week WHSmith launched an iPad app offering 25,000 titles and the same number will be available through Dixons. The WHSmith iPad app is already one of the most popular on the iTunes store ebook chart.
WHSmith High Street managing director Stephen Clarke said Dixons was the ideal partner. “Dixons is the UK’s biggest hardware retailer. You couldn’t do much better than that,” he said.
The launch of devices such as Amazon’s Kindle and the iPad are changing bookselling and extending the power of online rivals to traditional booksellers.
Retail Week Knowledge Bank senior partner Robert Clark said the deal between Dixons and WHSmith made sense. He said: “You can see the commercial benefits to both. Ebooks may be marginal at the moment but they’re only going to get bigger.”
Specialist bookseller Waterstone’s is also developing an ebook download app.