Waterstones has announced a deal with Amazon that will see the UK high-street book retailer selling Kindle ereader devices.
Despite MD James Daunt last year referring to Amazon as a 'ruthless devil', bookseller Waterstones has struck a deal to sell the Amazon Kindle ereader. Waterstones will sell the ereader alongside other digital reading services from Amazon. Under the deal, Waterstones customers will be able to use their ereaders to browse books and offers in the Wi-Fi-enabled areas of Waterstones shops.
Speaking about today's announcement, Daunt, appointed by Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut just under a year ago, 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."
This differs markedly from comments made in a December interview with the Independent in which Daunt was quoted as describing Amazon as 'a ruthless, money-making devil'.
He was further quoted as saying: "The computer screen is a terrible environment in which to select books. All that 'If you read this, you'll like that' – it's a dismal way to recommend books. A physical bookshop in which you browse, see, hold, touch and feel books is the environment you want."
Daunt had also previously said that Waterstones was working on its own e-reader along the same lines as US bookseller Barnes & Noble's Nook, but there was no mention of that in today's announcement.