As the leading UK ebook retailer I expected Waterstone’s would be racing to get their brand on the iPad (and the Android devices set to follow it) with an ereader/store app so they could offer customers a UK alternative to Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iBooks.
Months have gone by and still there’s no ebook app. Last month the retailer launched an iPhone shopping app for physical books, the footnotes of which promise news on an ebook app “soon” but it’s yet to materialise.
To be honest I’ve been pretty frustrated by whole thing because I LIKE Waterstone’s. They have a decent range of books and my local stores are clean, well presented and staffed by polite, smart, intelligent people who go out of their way to engage with and help customers. Oh, and I get loyalty points for buying from that rarest of beasts – a store I actually enjoy shopping in.
Thankfully during the wait for a Waterstone’s app txtr updated their app to work on the iPad which allowed me to read the books I’d bought from Waterstone’s on my shiny new device.
I could of course have bought more from Waterstone’s and used txtr’s website to download them to the iPad but it’s a lot more convenient to use an app which downloads new book straight to the iPad. For that reason all of my new purchases have gone to Kobo.
Not only does Kobo already have an app, I can download the raw ePub files from their website to store safely on my Sony reader should I ever want to use them on it. From my point of view it’s an easy win in my favour.
But much as I WANTED to buy from Waterstone’s, over the last couple of days I realised my NEED for an app from them has now passed. I’ve read all the books I’d already bought from them and have more books from Kobo than I do from Waterstone’s.
This means I’m now considerably less bothered about when my favourite High Street book retailer finally comes to the iPad – my default action when buying a new ebook is to go to straight to Kobo.
When that Waterstone’s app finally arrives I’ll have a play but it’s going to have to offer something pretty amazing to recapture my interests. If it lets me load in all my existing books regardless of where I’ve bought them it might just have sufficient edge to recapture my ebook purchases, but short of that it’s difficult to see what would make me change back.