High street book chain


 has relaunched its website as part of a bid to revive falling sales.

A soft launch of the site took place this week, with new features including a book club, suggestion lists and video feeds from authors.

The move has also seen Waterstone’s launching its own online book-selling service, after its five-year co-branding agreement with Amazon came to an end on 29 August. Amazon had provided a co-branded e-commerce site for Waterstone’s since 2001.

The retailer says it will offer free UK delivery for orders of over £15, while customers will also be able to pick up their purchases from their local store.

Waterstone’s, whose sales fell by almost 6% last year to £419 million, announced earlier this year that it would go it alone on the web as part of a new online strategy at owner HMV.

By revamping its websites, HMV hopes to better compete with music downloading services and internet booksellers. HMV.co.uk was relaunched in March, having been relocated to Guernsey to get costs onto a level footing with web-based rivals such as Apple’s iTunes.

The new site has some smart features, notably the use of Ajax on the product pages, and interactive features like customer ratings. It was built by Code Computer Love.

However, Waterstones needs to sort out its Google Adwords ads, which are still pointing at the Amazon domain.