Sainsbury’s sizes up to Amazon with ebook platform purchase

RETAIL giant Sainsbury’s yesterday took its first step into the ebook market, taking on the likes of Amazon and WH Smith with the purchase of a majority stake in digital books platform Anobii.

The supermarket paid a nominal £1 for struggling music vendor HMV’s stake in the online books retailer and expects to hold a 64 per cent stake in Anobii, joining current shareholders Penguin, HarperCollins and Random House.

Anobii is an online ebooks platform which enables readers to research and purchase titles on a range of devices including e-readers, smartphones and tablets.

The service, which currently has over 600,000 global users, doubles as a social network.

Sainsbury’s announcement comes just one month after Microsoft unveiled a partnership with US bookstore Barnes & Noble and its Nook ereader.

The tech behemoth paid $300m for 17.6 per cent of the new firm.

The news coincided with a trading update from Kobo, the WH Smith-backed ereader, which said ebook downloads grew by 400 per cent and device sales were up by 160 per cent over the last year.