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Just doesn’t have the spine: Kindle devices pulled from Waterstones shelves

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British bookseller Waterstones has pulled Kindle e-reader devices from its shelves following “pitiful” sales nationwide. 

“Sales continue to be pitiful so we are taking the display space back,” said Managing Director James Daunt. 

Waterstones partnered with Amazon in 2012 to sell Kindle devices in store. Despite initial success in sales, they will soon be replaced by hardbacks and paperbacks. 

“It feels very much like the life of one of those inexplicable bestsellers; one day piles and piles, selling like fury; the next you count your blessings with every sale because it brings you closer to getting it off your shelves forever to make way for something new,” Daunt added. 

“Sometimes, of course, they ‘bounce’ but no sign yet of this being the case with Kindles.” 

Meanwhile, traditional books are becoming more popular. Physical book sales at Waterstones grew 5% in December 2014, and figures from Nielsen Books reveal that sales of print books rose by 4.6% across the UK for the first 36 weeks of 2015 when compared to the same period the previous year. This is the first time that the print market has experienced such year on year growth at this stage of the calendar year since 2007. 

An Amazon spokesperson said in a statement that the company remained “pleased with the positive momentum and growing distribution of Kindle and Fire tablet sales.”

The devices are still available in 2,500 retail locations across the UK, and Kindle book sales continue to grow in the UK and US

It remains to be seen how each format will perform in the run-up to Black Friday and Christmas.

Published on Thursday 08 October by Philip Gallagher

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