A new-look Waterstone's faces intense festive competition, but publishers have most to lose this year

<p>Take a deep breath. September is upon us, and with it the official start of the "Christmas" season--the annual saving grace of the entire UK book industry (or at least its trade denizens). Fortunes and reputations are riding for a fall.</p><p>Retail is on the frontline. On the high street, the newly dominant Waterstone's has pushed ahead with its Ottakar's integration faster than expected. There are still mountains to climb--not least those made up of unreturned stock--but the transition of the Ottakar's shops to the new owner has been handled well. Its new-look trial store in Manchester...

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