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.