Kindle and Waterstones have consciously uncoupled. Yesterday it was announced that Britain’s largest bricks and mortar book retailer is to end its era of stocking and selling e-readers. Cue a book commentariat awash with cries that this proves we are entering the swan song of the dedicated e-reader.
Last week The Bookseller reported that big Publishers in the US are giving away $250m in free e-books as part of the Obama scheme. While this is a great initiative that will make children with low-income families (but who can afford e-readers) have easier access to discovering reading, this alone will not be not enough. Yes, it is tempting to throw money (or free books) at the problem, but doing so only creates a temporary fix. If we truly want to get to the root of the problem, we have to dig deeper.