Waterstone's could soon bring e-reading front of store in its physical bookshops in a manner similar to Barnes & Noble with its Nook in the US, according to e-commerce manager Alex Ingrams.
Speaking to delegates at the World eReading Congress in London today (10th May), Ingrams said: "It's no secret that Waterstone's is looking for a new owner and that there is a front-runner. I would hope the new owner would invest in a similar way [to Barnes & Noble]. There are a number of plans we could move on quite quickly to move down that line."
Ingrams was responding to comments made by HarperCollins UK c.e.o. Victoria Barnsley who, earlier in the day, advised booksellers to look to Barnes & Noble's approach in clearing front of store space for device sales and promotions of its Nook e-reader.
Ingrams also said there remained a substantial job to be done in communicating the facts about e-book publishing to customers, who often responded with anger and frustration to e-book prices and availability issues, while not understanding matters such as the "peculiar" imposition of VAT on e-books. "The customer does not understand the issues involved in digital printing. There is a large job of explanation to be done," he said.
Ingrams suggested including the names of the other people involved in the production of an e-book, as well as the author's name, in future, as a way of explaining to buyers how much was involved in getting the title to them, including editing the text in the first place. "There is merit in singing the praises of the people in the industry who have contributed," he said.
Publishers also need to be very careful about the language they use in describing their digital publishing to customers, he added. "How is the customer to understand what an enhanced edition is?"