Sainsbury’s expands digital with e-books

Sainsbury’s has bought a 64% stake in e-book retailer Anobii in the next phase of its move into the digital entertainment market.

Anobii

It follows the launch of Sainsbury’s MP3 download platform in May, which the supermarket said was the “first step” in the expansion of its digital entertainment offer.

Anobii is a social network-style online platform that lets readers research titles and buy them to read on a range of e-reader, smartphone and tablet devices.

Readers can then rate, review, share and discuss their books with other Anobii members.

It currently has more than 600,000 users worldwide and a catalogue of more than 60,000 titles.

Sainsbury’s hopes to grow its share of the online entertainment market as part of the expansion of its multichannel operations.

The supermarket has bought the stake from HMV for £1. HMV invested in Anobii in 2010 alongside publishers HarperCollins, Penguin and Random House Group (UK), to help develop its online retail platform, but following the sale of its Waterstone’s chain last year, it no longer fits HMV’s long-term plan.

Mark Bennett, Sainsbury’s head of digital entertainment, says: “Anobii’s innovative use of social media is a clear differentiator. This acquisition is a valuable addition to our digital portfolio and shows our commitment to becoming a key player in the digital entertainment market. It further demonstrates how we are constantly looking to innovate and seize opportunities that will support the future growth of our business.”

Sainsbury’s is likely to expand its digital entertainment offering to include films and games in the coming months.

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