Campaign brings shoppers to Sainsbury's e-books

The new head of “eBooks by Sainsbury’s” has told The Bookseller the site has seen “tens of thousands” of people registering in the last few weeks.

Tim Lennox, the new managing director of Sainsbury's e-book business, said the volume of interest had sprung from a marketing campaign in store and on Sainsbury’s website, alerting the company’s 22 million regular customers to its existence.

Lennox, who has worked for the supermarket for eight years, said future customer growth will be channelled through cross-marketing of the company’s digital and physical books offering. He said: “There will be links to the e-book site through Sainsbury’s entertainment site, which sells physical books, and links to the Sainsbury’s entertainment portal though the e-book site.”

A recent in-store campaign including point of sale information on book aisles and URL links to the site offering readers discounts on e-books on their initial visits has boosted thousands of visitors to the former Anobii site, Lennox said. “In time there will be more synergies between the physical books and e-books site. We will continue to have POS in store, alerting our customers that e-books by Sainsbury’s is now in existence. We have 22 million customers and they could all be potential e-book buyers. We have seen tens of thousands of people register and come onto the site,” he said.

Sainsbury’s is keen to keep the social element of the e-book site that encourages visitors to review, discuss and discover books as well as buy them. Lennox said he was also keen to work with the expertise of the website’s publisher shareholders Penguin, Random House and HarperCollins to enhance customers’ experiences.

“We have got a lot of channels through Sainsbury’s and its publisher shareholders and we are going to be maximising the use of those channels and we would hope to work with them in terms of running competitions and author interviews,” he said.

The supermarket has no plans to launch its own e-reader to accompany the e-book site, it confirmed.

Sainsbury’s bought the HMV Group’s stake in Anobii in June last year for £1. The c.e.o Matteo Berlucci and m.d Matthew Hardcastle later exited the company following the move. Last month, the website alerted its customers it would be changing its name from Anobii to eBooks by Sainsbury’s, but would be run by the same dedicated Anobii team.