For one of our first lectures on my Publishing course, we were asked to go into Waterstones (or a book shop) and observe the way in which it is laid out.
Needing no excuse to have a look around, I started on the ground floor and noticed the stand quite near to the entrance with Kindles on it. I remember reading an article in The Guardian earlier in the year about the deal between Waterstones and Amazon. Reading the article, I found myself agreeing with Philip Downer who states: ‘Waterstones falling into the arms of Amazon feels like a victory for Amazon’. Surely Waterstones are playing a dangerous game teaming up with one of their competitors?
It certainly marks a new way of shopping for books. One commentor (MatGreenfield, 21 May 2012) on the article has suggested that when customers buy a book, you can also get the digital copy to go with it which would be a great way to introduce people to the ebook market.
The risk of pushing people away from print is a danger, however. The future seems uncertain for Waterstones, and with the launch of the Kindle Fire being advertised in the store, it will be interesting to see how the public reacts to it.