Taylor: Waterstones’ focus is on conversations

Taylor: Waterstones’ focus is on conversations

Waterstones has more than tripled sales of its Fiction Book of the Month in volume terms in the past two years, the company’s head of events and PR Sandra Taylor revealed. She said its Book of the Month choices were “consistently making bestsellers because we are hand-selling better”.

Giving tips to attendees of The Bookseller’s Marketing & Publicity Conference on how to improve relationships between retailers and publishers, Taylor said that training for Waterstones’ staff had recently focused on “conversations rather than the hard sell”.

“We have sold over 35,000 copies of Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson since March and we have sold 81% [of the value of its total print sales],” she said. “Why? Well, we put it front of store and it’s got great positioning. But mainly it’s a brilliant book, so our booksellers are talking to their customers about it.”

Taylor said Waterstones was “more open” to publisher- produced point of sale and urged publicists and marketers to keep booksellers up to date on campaigns, to not propose “stunts that take up valuable trading space or shelving areas” and to know which of Waterstones’ booksellers they should send particular titles to.