Balancing the books

First I would like to ask all those authors who are calling for Waterstones to pay the living wage where were they when we were a day away from closing in 2011? And where will they be should we ever be unfortunate enough to be at that place again?

Well, I fear the answer will be nowhere which will be of help to us. Yes, there will be a few letters here and there, a few tuts and "oh what a shame!" but no more. With all due respect to their good intentions, they will not be the ones losing their jobs. If the person who knows most about our financial situation says there's no money, his comment should be taken seriously and respected.

It's no secret that James Daunt thinks bookseller pay is low, he has commented on it umpteen times, and has done more than many to improve it, but we live in the times we do and there's not a single day that a firm is not going under on the high street. You must have been living on Mars not to know how tough it is out there.

When I joined bookselling in the '80s I was told if it was money I was after this was not the job for me, but then I have chosen the job because I love and believe in what I sell. I work somewhere where every Christmas temp who joins us doesn't want to leave. I work somewhere where I am treated with respect, and don't have to clock in and out of using the bathroom.

Not being able to afford a place is not the m.d.'s fault, but a sad state of the housing market and other economic factors. Doctors, nurses, teachers and many others can't afford to move out - why should it be different for a business competing with the might of Amazon?

So please, let's get some perspective on this and remove our rose-tinted glasses!

Kurde Atfield has been the manager of Waterstones' Horsham branch for 19 years.