The news that Tesco may close its ebook selling service (see FT article below), coming after the report that Waterstones has experienced much more growth in physical books than digital book sales recently (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/11328570/Kindle-sales-have-disappeared-says-UKs-largest-book-retailer.html) is interesting. The Tesco move is part of its continuing return back to basics following its issues over the last year. Its foray into digital media some four years ago (the Blinkbox films and TV service, then music and ebooks) has been put into reverse with the sale of the film and TV business to TalkTalk, and the music business to Guvera. The ebooks business has not found a buyer, which is a pity. Amid the consolidation and change that is going on in the telecoms market, with a shift towards bundling of mobile phone/fixed line phone/broadband/tv, it is not surprising that the Blinkbox film and TV business has found a home. The books market seems to be different. Surely ebooks are here to stay, but the different formats of books fulfil different functions: something to read, or a display item? We still seem to be settling down on that (and part of it is perhaps that we may no longer be buying specific ebook readers, but just viewing them on a tablet). Overall though, the pace of change in corporate strategy seems still to be speeding up as a result of these changes in technology.
Tesco is to close its ebook-selling service as it admitted it had been unable to find a buyer, despite holding talks with Waterstones, Britain’s biggest chain of bookstores. The supermarket, which has been selling off non-core businesses as part of a turnround plan unveiled earlier this month, said Blinkbox Books would close by the end of February. It declined to comment on why talks with Waterstones had failed. .... Despite its failure to sell Blinkbox Books, Tesco has now disposed of the two other lossmaking businesses under the Blinkbox brand. The retailer sold Blinkbox Movies to TalkTalk this month, and on Monday it completed the sale of Blinkbox Music to Guvera, an Australian company that operates a music streaming service in 20 countries worldwide.