Waterstones 'in very good shape' for Christmas, says Daunt

Waterstones 'in very good shape' for Christmas, says Daunt

Waterstones m.d James Daunt says the retailer is in "very good shape" heading towards Christmas, despite issues with the global supply chain.

He told Radio 4's "Today" programme the company bought more books in anticipation of supply problems, so warehouses and shops remain full. "We got ahead of it and publishers were extremely organised, so actually thus far we are in very good shape. Perhaps as we get towards Christmas Eve the odd thing may run out, but right now it's fine," he said.

Looking back on the year, he said one of the "unexpected benefits" of lockdowns were people started reading more and that appetite has only grown as the year has gone on.

He added 2021 is a year "without too many standout bestsellers" but this means people are purchasing across a range of genres "which is a really nice place to be in as a bookseller". His top picks for this Christmas include the latest by Sally Rooney, Sebastian Faulks, Richard Osman, Billy Connolly, as well as a "whole slew of really good literary novels".

Daunt said "When the shops were closed people were buying very predictable things and lots of bestsellers amongst the classics and so on. Once the shops reopened people have been in and browsing and buying across a whole swathe. There have been lots of slightly unexpected bestsellers including our very bestselling book at the moment, which is not an unknown person but it's a peculiar book. We've got a great huge, lavish, wonderful book The Lyrics (Allen Lane) by Paul McCartney, which is selling more than anything else."

When questioned about some authors claiming their works are not being displayed in stores due to their views on issues like gender, Daunt said he thought most booksellers "are extremely sensible" and argued the vast majority of booksellers are "just interested in selling the right books and putting them in front of people".