By Hannah Johnson
Britain’s largest independent bookstore chain, Foyles, has launched an e-bookstore and e-reading apps for Apple and Android devices with Berlin-based platform, txtr.
The Foyles eBookstore allows users to sync their purchases, bookmarks and notes across multiple devices, and they can access their e-books using mobile apps and PCs. The platform also offers users free cloud storage to upload, save and access their own documents.
This announcement comes just months after WH Smith launched a branded e-reader and e-bookstore in the UK with Canadian company, Kobo. Waterstones also has an e-bookstore and will launch an e-reader in the spring of 2012, inspired by the success of Barnes & Noble’s Nook in the US.
It appears that Foyles isn’t looking to launch a branded e-reader in the near future. In a statement, Foyles CEO Sam Husain said, “Our new eBook store and apps, Foyles powered by txtr, make buying and reading eBooks as easy as possible, without the added expense of having to buy new hardware. It is the next step in our on-going journey to serve our customers with a choice of books, across the widest possible range, in every format.”
Thomas Leliveld, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of txtr, said in a prepared statement: “The quality of [Foyles'] specialist staff is well-known and the depth of their book offering is legendary, also outside the UK. It is our intention to work closely with Foyles to give their digital customers also the best user experience and eBook offering.”
In an interview with Publishing Perspectives last year, Husain said, “We would like to work with a company dedicated to developing the next generation of e-reader.” Husain went on to say that Foyles was looking to expand its brand beyond the UK. “I believe the way to go is franchises and partnerships, and I would be interested in having conversations with serious parties who understand what we are about.”
This partnership also expands international opportunities for txtr, which had operated e-bookstores in 12 countries. Originally developed as an e-reader, txtr morphed into an e-book distribution company. Leliveld told Publishing Perspectives last year that txtr is focused on building local e-bookstores with local content, local management and local payment systems.