Wed, 28/09/2011 - 11:34
When James Daunt became managing director of Waterstone's the last thing I expected to read, just a few weeks later, was that he was beginning "to move from local to central buying". Could the founder of the chattering classes' most loved bookshops really be adopting a system which a few years earlier prompted one of the...
Wed, 13/07/2011 - 10:57
Last month Bertelsmann announced the closure of its Direct Group, having sold off the British, American and French book clubs—with further disposals likely.
This type of book club first became popular in the 1930s, and as recently as 1998 accounted for 24% of the UK book market. Sheltered by a carve-out from the Net Book...
Tue, 24/05/2011 - 14:18
I own thousands of CDs, and regularly re-classify them in the tradition of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. Yet my current "playlist" is just a dozen albums sitting on my desk. When consigned to the shelves, many will never be played again. Why do I want to own these CDs, or even the hundreds of iTunes tracks I have...
Thu, 07/04/2011 - 16:37
The e-book era has clearly arrived, but can publishers' digital revenues grow fast enough to offset the worldwide decline in sales of physical books? About half of all books are bought on impulse—sales that result from attractive displays in inviting surroundings, which are readily accessible to the most literate, well-heeled...
Fri, 29/10/2010 - 12:39
After several decades of opening ever larger units, retailers are rediscovering the joys of small stores. In the US, Walmart, best known for 185,000 sq ft "Supercenters", is looking for urban locations as small as 5,000 sq ft. Its UK subsidiary, Asda, is also embracing smaller stores with the recent acquisition of Netto, waking up to...
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 15:00
At times our industry seems obsessed by the challenges and opportunities of e-books. The potential transformation is un-deniable, but there’s another digital revolution coming up fast on the rails. Imagine having a supremely knowledgeable assistant with you whenever you are shopping. You probably already do; your mobile.
Fri, 14/05/2010 - 09:31
For the first time in more than a decade, I have just bought some books from Bob Jackson at Gardners. He was as charming, knowledgeable and completely uncompromising on discount as ever.
Why? We have just re-sited our Fat Face store in Brighton to a splendid Victorian building, the old Crown Post Office. Ironically I came close to...
Fri, 12/03/2010 - 14:57
Macmillan's spat with Amazon looks like a crucial battle in the war to decide the ground rules for selling e-books. Amazon has rarely backed off in such commercial disputes, being prepared to remove the "buy button" at the first sign of trouble. Its launch of the Kindle looked like a game-changing breakthrough, but in its fight for e-...
Thu, 14/01/2010 - 11:00
When Borders closed last month, in a flurry of DayGlo posters, Waterstone's became the “last man standing” among UK specialist bookselling chains.
When Borders first opened here it brought a contemporary feel, and complemented unrivalled choice of books by selling coffee, music and video with more conviction than others. It...
Fri, 20/11/2009 - 10:38
"There's no such thing as a free lunch." Well, it's starting to look as if that economists' adage might not apply to media. The deeply embedded consumer view that if it is online, it is free started with music, but it now threatens every medium.
The music industry has been vilified for being slow to embrace the move to digital...