Waterstone's is being bought by a Russian investor for £53 million, after posting an 8% decline in sales over the past four months and £2.8 million profit over the past year.
The company highlighted the "significant structural change driven by digital delivery and intensifying price competition from supermarkets and internet mail order" as one reason behind the sale.
That change has been highlighted by stats from Waterstone's and rival Amazon. Waterstone's spokesman John Howells told The Guardian that eBooks had outsold paper editions for "quite a while".
"For every hardback we sell online, we sell four eBooks online," Howells told the newspaper. "It doesn't really surprise us as we've been quite established as eBook sellers for some two-and-a-half years now."
Amazon's Kindle sales
Amazon's numbers suggest a similar pattern. In the US, Amazon.com is selling 105 eBooks for every 100 print copies. While that doesn't include free eBooks, it also doesn't include sales of second-hand books.
Amazon.co.uk's eBook sales are slightly slower, possibly because the Kindle UK store only opened last September, but paid-for digital copies are already outselling hardback books by a ratio of 2.4:1, the retailer said.
However, Amazon said its print sales are continuing to grow, giving it the fastest year-on-year growth rate for its US books business in the past decade.
Amazon also offered an update on sales of Kindle with Special Offers, its eBook reader that features ads but sells at a discounted price. The slightly cheaper reader is "already the best-selling member of the Kindle family in the US," the company said.
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk