Friday, October 21, 2011

Question: Should Retailers Own Branded e-Book Device: yea or nay?

Some retailers are opting to make or brand their own e-Book devices. Teleread reports that German booksellers Weltbild and Hugendubell launched their own device recently and following will be Waterstone, expected to launch their e-reader next year.  Bloomsbury executive director Richard Charkin says, “ You need to be able to offer both [e-books and a device] if you are to take any share of the market,” says in the story.   It is also reported that the American Booksellers Association is in talks about making its own device.  Penguin’s vice-president for digital commerce, Tim McCall agrees with this view and said it was necessary for a retailer with a digital strategy to have a reader as part of it, reported in the article.

We picked up on this commentary by Steven Lyle Jordan, an author, who disagrees with the message of this article.  “Bookstores should be making every effort to be the place people want to buy ebooks from, and read on whatever device they have. That means value-adding to the ebooks. Deals, memberships, exclusive content, customer-tailored specials… those should be their strategies.”

Should book retailers have their own devices, aim for a more device agnostic strategy, or both?  What do you see as the pros and cons of a store owned and branded device?  What do you think? 

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