Sainsbury's to cease selling physical books online

Sainsbury’s is to cease selling physical books online by the end of February.

The supermarket’s website will move to a completely on demand model in March 2014 after the retailer admitted it sees future online opportunities as lying solely in “digital products”.

As a result, Sainsbury’s will sell physical books, CDs, games and DVDs exclusively through its physical stores.

Meanwhile eBooks by Sainsbury’s will continue to trade online.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We see that the online opportunity lies in digital products, with physical music, books, games and films sold in our stores. This move is in line with wider industry trends towards on demand entertainment, and part of our focus on the fast-growing download and streaming market. "

The company said that existing customer orders would be fulfilled including pre-orders for products launched before 15th March. However, no further orders will be taken from the end of February 2014.

Sainsbury’s has recently stepped up marketing and promotion of its digital e-book platform through a series of public competitions and in-store cross-merchandising promotions.

In December, eBooks by Sainsbury’s launched a reader vote to find the ‘e-book of the year’ and the winner has today (6th January) been revealed as Lesley Thomson’s fast-paced crime thriller The Detective’s Daughter (Head of Zeus). Readers were asked to vote for their favourite e-book throughout December from a list of 150 titles designed to reflect the breadth and diversity of British book publishing.

Tim Lennox, managing director of eBooks by Sainsbury’s, said: “The result of the first eBooks by Sainsbury’s eBook of the Year is both wonderful and refreshing, suggesting that e-books have opened up a whole new world for readers and authors alike. We certainly saw this with Lesley Thomson’s The Detective’s Daughter, which enjoyed enormous success as an e-book in 2013, keeping a few well-known names off the top of the bestseller lists in the process.”

 He added: “We’ve always thought that the convenience and portability of the e-book format played a powerful role in persuading readers to try something new. The fact Thomson’s breakthrough book won out against stiff competition from literary heavyweights certainly seems to bear this out.”