Tag Archives: Waterstones

#NationalPoetryDay

The theme of this year’s National Poetry Day (@PoetryDayUK) is ‘water, water everywhere’; inspired by one of my favourite poets (and poems), Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The first Thursday of October has marked the special event for the last 20 years. Poetry is a fantastic medium which can express anything. And the best part is, is that everybody can interpret different things from poetry; what may mean one thing to someone, could mean something completely different to someone else.

Matt Lewis writes in an article for The Telegraph: “The aim of National Poetry Day is to celebrate poetry in all of its diverse forms. In doing so, The Poetry Society and its affiliates hope to attract new readers and remove some of the academic, elitist stigma that is attached to verse, making it part of the public imagination again”. Something else which I feel I should mention is how muscians can also promote poetry. Being a fan of Arctic Monkeys, I really enjoyed their slightly altered version of John Cooper Clarke’s ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ which is included on their new album, AM. Anyone who is a fan of either JCC or AM should definitely YouTube the different versions.

On another note, I shall leave you with this:

Possibly my favourite quote to describe poetry.


And so begins the biggest ever promotion of bookshops: Books Are My Bag!

Saturday 14th September marks one of the biggest promotions of bookshops in bookselling history. Books Are My Bag played a prominent presence at this year’s London Book Fair in April where the hype to yesterday’s launch began.

Photo from HarperCollins' website

Photo from HarperCollins’ website

The campaign is to celebrate bookshops across the country and to encourage people to support their local bookshop; whether it be a small independent or one of the national chains. Statistics on the BAMB website shows that ‘56% of all book buying decisions are in fact decided in a bookshop’. Consumers do not always know what they are after until they find it whilst browsing in a bookshop. Certainly, it seems that mortar-and-bricks bookshops are the way to discover new books that perhaps you hadn’t thought of buying before.

In an article by The Bookseller last week, CEO of the Booksellers Association, Tom Godfray, said that the UK would “wake up to a sea of orange” as booksellers across the country prepared their stores and events during the week. Of course, a big promotional event cannot be without iconic merchandise, and for the event, merchandise came in the form of Books Are My Bag tote bags designed by advertising firm, M & C Saatchi; inspired by Lord Saatchi’s Brutal Simplicity of Thought.

To add to the hype, the event was promoted by a media launch at Foyles in London on 9th September, where high-profile figures such as: Amanda Holden, Andrew Marr, Alan Johnson, Sebastian Faulks and Marian Keyes, attended in support of the event.

The promotion is set to run until 31st December 2013.

I personally feel that the BAMB promotion is a fantastic event in which to highlight our bookshops to the public. With new digital technologies, as well as the rise of online retailers, high street booksellers have slowly been dying out; particularly independents. Many booksellers already host an array of events such as author talks to entice customers over the threshold. One thing that did surprise me, however, was on looking at Waterstones’ website, there is no reference of the BAMB campaign on their main page. There is mention of BAMB on the blog section of their website, but what if the customer does not look at that section? Wouldn’t it be a good idea if bookshops’ websites had the BAMB logo somewhere on their homepages?

Of course, the campaign has been thoroughly popular on social media sites, such as Twitter. #booksaremybag was trending on the launch day, with hundreds of posts from independent and chain booksellers posting pictures of their events, and many customers tweeting about their purchases.  It will be great to see how much of an impact the campaign will have on high street bookshops and whether it will entice customers to use their local bookshop more often.

@booksaremybag


Bookshops – places of discovery and places of prominence on the high street

Over the past couple of months, bookshops have been a prominent topic in the news and have been something which I have been blogging about over the months. Not only are bookshops one of the key places publishers can sell their works, they are also places of inspiration. Bookshops are places of beauty. I love visiting bookshops, I could spend all day in one. It is for this reason that I have been keeping an eye on any news about bookshops which has recently been in the media.

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The Bookseller has published two articles over the past couple of days where they stated that ‘bookshop browsing is vital for the publishing industry’. One of the points which was emphasised was that bookshops enable customers to browse and therefore discover. Bookshops open up an avenue of discovery which online retailers such as Amazon cannot match; consequently, it has been suggested that consumers do not browse the internet as often as thought. It was discovered that 21% of all book sales were a result of consumers browsing in bookstores.

I think one of the key questions is, is whether consumers will  continue to browse in bookshops if they have to pay to browse? (CEO of Harper Collins, Victoria Barnsley, predicted last month that customers will have to pay to browse in bookshops in the future) It was said that 35% of all book purchases are from a book shop, meaning that 65% of people order their books online. Whilst it seems like a small amount, if 21% of that 35% is made up of purchases through browsing then it means that a significant amount could potentially be lost if bookshops do start to charge customers to browse, or the business closes down.

It seems though, that bookshops will not be leaving our high streets without a fight… Also this week the Mail Online reported that mortar-and-bricks retailers will start to sell books with additional chapters and content which will not be made available online. Essentially, bookshops will hold exclusive content in order to draw customers into buying from them as opposed to e-retailers. The idea is only just being introduced with Joanna Harris writing an exclusive additional chapter for her latest novel Peaches For Monsieur Le Curé, which is only available through Waterstones. Ian Rankin is another who is keen to publish exclusive content which will only be available through Waterstones.

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With these latest developments in the revolution of the mortar-and-bricks bookseller coupled with the #FutureFoyles project and the introduction of bookselling degrees at the University of Derby, the bookshop of the future will certainly be an intriguing development in the industry. Personally, I cannot wait to see what will become of the beloved bookshop.


The year of the mergers

Penguin Random House

(Image taken from Aziz Isham, The House of Penguin: Notes on a Publishing Apocalypse)

Penguin Random House

The Bookseller released an article last week reporting how Australia has approved the Random House Penguin merger which was announced in October last year. It has been reported that companies Pearson and Bertelsmann will own approx. half each; the former owning 47% of shares and the latter owning 53%. Of course this means that both companies’ publishing firms across the world will be involved in the merger, including offices in the USA and Canada, Australia and New Zealand, India, China and Spain.

Waterstones and University of Derby

Not only have two of the publishing worlds’ ‘big six’ has joined forces, but other companies in the publishing sector are also coming together. Book retailer Waterstones have of course done deals with e-retailer Amazon in the past in which they have agreed to sell Amazon’s Kindle in their stores. More recently, however, Waterstones has announced its agreement with the University of Derby to launch the first professional qualification in bookselling, which will be the equivalent of a first year in an undergraduate degree.

Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh

The two literary agencies announced earlier in February that they would be joining together to ‘extend their authors’ reach in the new publishing multiverse. Like with the Penguin Random House merger, Curtis Brown has bought a 50% stake in Conville & Walsh. It is not the first time the agencies have worked together though; both have formed alliance on film projects in the past for M L Stedman and S J Watson to name a few.

Predictions for 2013:

Whilst obviously, the Penguin and Random House merger was a big deal in the trade publishing world, however, the end of January saw the prediction that consolidation of academic publishing houses will become more common this year, particularly with the mass rise in digital sales, as well as developments in Open Access. George Lossius, CEO of Publishing Technology told The Bookseller how consolidation is ‘not the sole domain of the trade’ although the consolidation of small publishers into large publishers recently means that the prediction for this to happen in 2013 is more likely.

Other developments predicted is the mass surge in Open Access publishing and the rise in purchasing digital academic textbooks for Universities around the world. Cambridge University Press Chief Executive, Peter Phillips, said that digital educational services were massive, yet the demand for print textbooks and Print On Demand was still popular and was still a growing part of academic publishing, particularly in the Far East and Latin America.

Personally, I think that mergers between publishing houses will continue to change the industry. With the changes in the digital revolution in publishing, large (and small) publishing firms have joined forces to try to enhance the services which they are already providing. In addition, with the rise of giant Amazon, publishing houses should stick together. It is thought that Amazon controls 80-90% of the market, as reported by Aziz Isham, The American Reader (as above). With Amazon controlling such a large part of the market, there are obviously fears that the future of publishing will not extend much further than Amazon. Personally, whilst I do and have used Amazon in the past, I think it is important for publishing houses to still exist! It would be a shame for years of companies’ hard work to be over-taken by Amazon and in addition, I do like to have that choice of being able to purchase my books direct from the publisher – again another service which is increasingly on the rise…

As I have summarised in this post, mergers are affecting ALL aspects of the industry: trade, academic, literary agents and retailers! I guess the interesting game now is, one publishing house at a time, to guess who will be the next merger…?


Waterstones and Amazon collaboration: A good idea?

Waterstones and Amazon collaboration: A good idea?

For one of our first lectures on my Publishing course, we were asked to go into Waterstones (or a book shop) and observe the way in which it is laid out.

Needing no excuse to have a look around, I started on the ground floor and noticed the stand quite near to the entrance with Kindles on it. I remember reading an article in The Guardian earlier in the year about the deal between Waterstones and Amazon. Reading the article, I found myself agreeing with Philip Downer who states: ‘Waterstones falling into the arms of Amazon feels like a victory for Amazon’. Surely Waterstones are playing a dangerous game teaming up with one of their competitors?

It certainly marks a new way of shopping for books. One commentor (MatGreenfield, 21 May 2012) on the article has suggested that when customers buy a book, you can also get the digital copy to go with it which would be a great way to introduce people to the ebook market.

The risk of pushing people away from print is a danger, however. The future seems uncertain for Waterstones, and with the launch of the Kindle Fire being advertised in the store, it will be interesting to see how the public reacts to it.