Sainsbury’s opens new chapter by snapping up stake in ebook firm
GROCERY chain Sainsbury’s is moving into the ebooks market after buying HMV’s stake in Anobii, a digital book retailer and social network, for £1.
Anobii lets readers research and buy titles to read on a range of devices, including smartphones and tablet computers. It currently has more than 600,000 users worldwide.
Its other shareholders are publishers HarperCollins, Penguin and Random House, and Sainsbury’s will have a 64 per cent stake in the business.
HMV used to own Waterstones, but last year sold the bookstore chain to Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut for £53 million to concentrate on its core entertainment markets.
Last month Waterstones unveiled a deal with online retail giant Amazon that will offer customers free wi-fi access to download titles in its stores.
Mark Bennett, head of digital entertainment at Sainsbury’s, said Anobii’s use of social media was a “clear differentiator” in the ebook marketplace, which is dominated by Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iBooks software.
Bennett added: “This acquisition is a valuable addition to our digital portfolio and shows our commitment to becoming a key player in the digital entertainment market.”
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