Tuesday, 10 November 2009

From The Guardian - "How Waterstones Killed Bookselling"

The rather sensationalist title aside, this piece in today's Guardian is an interesting examination of the book retailing business. It will have resonances for all of us who've had books turned down recently.

3 comments:

Matt Curran said...

Hi Tim

Saw this too via the Bookseller site - where Mr Jeffries has been pretty much shot down in flames by most of the commentators (as well as the Guardian blog) but the argument is essentially the same, that Waterstones is competing for the popular vote, and not for "proper" bookselling. Having said that, if selling "literary" books was such a profitable market then the independents would be doing well, and times are tough for them. I think times are hard for everyone in bookselling – no one appears to get that balance right of giving what people want, and knowing what people want.

Alis said...

I think one of the problems is discounting - Waterstones tell the public what it wants via three-for-twos and that's what the public buys because who can resist a bargain? But that means that the books that aren't discounted, or carried in half-dozens on the shelves, face out, never even get looked at by the vast majority of peopl. If they were on the tables at the front of the shop those very same books would, in all likelihood, sell in quantity...
Not that I'm saying I know what the answer is, but that appears to be at least part of the problem.

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