Waterstones – what are you doing?!


I quite like Waterstones (we’re a bit short of independent bookshops around here) and often pick up ideas from their shops to use in the library. A few months ago the Birmingham High Street branch was full of charming and quirky displays, including the country house books theme I copied at Langley. Everything looked less corporate and more like an independent bookshop, reflecting the particular interests of the local staff, who are always really knowledgeable and interesting to talk to.

However, when I walked in recently the boring corporate image was back, with the same displays of George RR Martin and JK Rowling books you’ll see in every bookshop in the country. I asked what had happened and they said they were only allowed to display the books on a list provided by Waterstone’s management. How disappointing and unimaginative of the company.


3 thoughts on “Waterstones – what are you doing?!

  1. TS

    So true! Don’t these companies realise that the personal touch is more appealing to customers? I think Heffers in Cambridge (owned by Blackwell’s) still has displays of the staff’s favourite books – it’s so much more interesting than the standard displays you get everywhere else.

  2. JS

    I suppose the sad truth is that displaying the Rowlings and the Martins does probably lead to more sales than the quirky displays, even though they are, as you say, more charming. I guess if you’re running a big chain you can’t risk giving creative licence to every individual branch, because there will be casualties…


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