Waterstones, the leading high street bookseller, has signed a commercial agreement with Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) to launch new e-reading services and offer Kindle digital devices through its UK shops.
The agreement with Amazon will enable Waterstones to extend first class digital reading to its customers in-store. This will complement and strengthen the traditional attributes of the bookshops to which the company remains fundamentally committed.
The digital initiatives will build on the UK group's on-going investment plan to upgrade its 30-year-old retail chain. This incorporates a major refurbishment programme and other innovations including dedicated digital areas, free wi-fi access and new coffee shops, all planned for 2012.
James Daunt, Managing Director of Waterstones, 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."
Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO, 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 will be announced in the Autumn. Commercial terms of the partnership have not been disclosed.