Tesco deal exploits ebook revolution

Tesco has tightened its grip on the digital entertainment market with the £4.5m acquisition of digital book platform provider Mobcast, in a move designed to tap into the burgeoning ebook market.
Ebook sales jumped 366% last year to £92m, according to figures from the Publishers Association, and have continued to grow on the success of titles such as Fifty Shades of Grey. Tesco is already a major book retailer and sold 10.7% of the UK’s entertainment this spring, according to Kantar Worldpanel.
Mobcast, co-founded by former SAS man-turned-author Andy McNab, further strengthens Tesco’s digital entertainment offer. In 2011, it purchased movie and TV streaming service Blinkbox and personalised Internet radio service WE7 in June 2012.
Mobcast powers ebook stores for Orange and T-Mobile (UK) and supplies ebooks to Nokia’s Ovi store, as well as other clients.
It provides a digital book retail platform with a catalogue of more than 130,000 of the UK’s most popular titles which can be bought and read on smartphones, tablets and e-readers. Mobcast offers a cloud-based service that lets customers build up an eBook library collection without being locked-in to one single device.
Tesco Digital Entertainment chief executive Michael Comish, said: “We want our customers to have the widest choice in digital entertainment. We are already one of the UK’s largest booksellers and Mobcast will help us offer even more choice for the large and growing number of customers who want to buy and enjoy books on their digital devices whenever and wherever they want.”
McNab said: “As an author I always thought the ability to carry your library around and read on all your personal devices would be a huge benefit to all. We have developed a product that makes this possible, and being acquired by Tesco ensures that this original vision will be available to as many people as possible.”
The deal is likely to see Tesco’s current ebook store – based on Adobe’s Digital Editions platform, requiring consumers have Adobe’s software on their desktop or mobile device – closed down.

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