Waterstones has signed a deal with Amazon to sell its Kindle e-reader.
The bookseller will also allow Kindle users to digitally browse books and have access to Waterstones’ special offers. Commercial terms of the partnership have not been disclosed.
The move by the 300-store chain comes just a month after US bookseller Barnes and Noble teamed up with Microsoft in a £185m deal to make The Nook, the retailer’s e-reader, available to millions of people.
Waterstones said the digital initiatives will build on the UK group’s on-going investment plan to upgrade its 30-year-old retail chain.
The retailer is undergoing a major refurbishment programme and other innovations including dedicated digital areas, free wi-fi access and new coffee shops are all planned for 2012.
Last month, US retail giant Target said that it would stop selling Amazon’s Kindle in a move analysts said was due to Amazon’s increased competition outside books.
Waterstones managing director James Daunt said: “At Waterstones, we are committed to improving our bookshops quite radically to offer the best possible book buying experience. It is a truly exciting prospect to harness also the respective strengths of Waterstones and Amazon to provide a dramatically better digital reading experience for our customers.
“The best digital readers, the Kindle family, will be married to the singular pleasures of browsing a curated bookshop. With the combination of our talents we can offer the exceptional customer proposition to which we both aspire.”
Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos said: “Waterstones is the premier high street bookseller and is passionate about books and readers – a dedication that we share deeply. We could never hope for a better partner to bring together digital reading and the physical bookstore.”
Further details of the move will be announced in the autumn.