Waterstones stops selling Amazon Kindles over 'pitiful' sales

Amazon Kindle

Waterstones, the UK's largest book retailer, surprised many when it put plans for its own e-reader on ice to start selling Amazon's range of Kindle readers. It's been more than three years since it began making extra space in stores for one of its biggest rivals, but it won't for much longer. The Bookseller reports that the company will remove Amazon's e-ink Kindles from most of its locations as sales "continue to be pitiful."

That's according to James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones, who told the publication: "We are taking the display space back in more and more shops. 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. Sometimes, of course, they 'bounce' but no sign yet of this being the case with Kindles."

Amazon issued a statement, saying: "We are pleased with the positive momentum and growing distribution of Kindle and Fire tablet sales -- our devices are now available in over 2,500 retail locations across the UK, including Argos, Tesco, Dixons, John Lewis and recent additions like Sainsbury's, Boots and Shop Direct. Our UK, US and worldwide Kindle book sales are growing in 2015."

Space that was normally reserved for Amazon devices will be dedicated to paperbacks and hardbacks instead, as Waterstones attempts to capitalise on the slow resurgence of physical book sales. In January, the retailer confirmed that sales of the Kindle had plunged over Christmas while sales of paperbacks and hardbacks rose by 5 percent over the same period.