E-Books on Aisle Three: UK Retail Giant Tesco Buys Mobcast

In Global Trade Talk by Alex Mutter

By Alex Mutter

With Kindle sales soaring in the UK and Barnes & Noble set to roll out its Nook e-reader in the coming weeks, retail giant Tesco announced Tuesday that it has acquired e-book platform Mobcast.

Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer and the third-largest retailer worldwide, purchased Mobcast for just under 5 million pounds. The service comes with a catalog of over 130,000 titles served up via the cloud, allowing users to access their libraries across multiple devices. And while the Kindle and Nook can only read e-books sold by Amazon and B&N respectively, the Mobcast service supports multiple file formats, including EPUB, and caters to a wider variety of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

The move comes in the wake of Tesco competitor Sainsbury’s purchase of Anobii in June for 1 million pounds, as well as B&N’s announcement that it is partnering with a number of prominent retail chains, including John Lewis, to bring the Nook to the UK. Amazon, which launched the Kindle in the UK last year, is selling more e-books than print books, and appears to be dominating that market.

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Alex Mutter