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Waterstone's m.d. Johnson responds to Guardian attack
13.11.09 | Catherine Neilan
Waterstone's m.d. Gerry Johnson has responded in The Guardian to a piece that claimed the chain had "crushed" the publishing industry and "killed" bookselling.
"Stuart Jeffries used six pages in your G2 section to lay the book trade's perceived ills at Waterstone's door, yet found no room to highlight how our company is at the forefront of a vibrant industry that faces great challenges," wrote Johnson in the newspaper's response section.
Pointing to its New Voices intiative, "which introduce the best new literary authors- nearly always debuts - to a massive audience", its sponsorship of the children's laureate, and its hosting of "countless reading groups", Johnson said: "Books were the reason the company started, and remain the core of our business."
He added that Waterstone's stores were "populated by people who are passionate and knowledgeable, with many enjoying long bookselling careers".
He concluded: "We are flattered that in Jeffries' view Waterstone's has such a commanding position, but really it is for booksellers, publishers, writers and readers to shape the industry.
"This will be achieved not by critiquing the past but by working together to make sure writers get to write the books they want, and readers can enjoy the books they want to read. It is reassuring that the overwhelming majority of responses to his article on your website share this view."