UK-based mega chain Tesco announced this week that it’s purchased Mobstar, a smallish e-bookseller that will give Tesco (already the biggest bookseller in the UK) a tried and true digital publishing platform.
While we may not be very familiar with Tesco on this side of the pond, but it’s #2 only to Walmart in terms of profits. There’s no doubt about it, this is a huge e-publishing move… especially for Amazon UK and Barnes & Noble, both of which have been netting massive revenues from the UK’s English-speaking citizenry.
Now there’s a fly in the ointment.
If you live in the US, you may be surprised to learn that Amazon doesn’t sell the Kindle Fire to folks in the UK, Australia, Canada, etc. The device was sold inside the US market exclusively until Amazon “Sold Out” of Kindle Fires last week. I couldn’t blame any non-US users for feeling slighted…
Perhaps the newest device, due out this fall, will be sold worldwide. It would seem ridiculous to do otherwise. Wouldn’t it?
There are huge markets of English speakers outside the US that Amazon has been selling to, yet somewhat ignoring up until now. If Amazon wants to hang onto its dominant share of the market, it’s going to have to cater to international users… b/c Tesco will.
Mobstar has a reported 130,000 titles and was purchased for the relatively unspectacular price of $7.2M, but that figure has much more to do with the platform’s past than its future. Pretty soon, it will be loaded with Tesco’s titles and promoted by the world’s 3rd largest retailer.