Today in Wottakar’s: future plans for Waterstone’s

By Carmen Comment

The Guardian profiles Tim Waterstone, the bookstore chain’s founder who’s looking to buy back in for the second time. Will he succeed? It all depends on who you ask. Says Caroline Dawnay of the literary agency PFD, “He’s like a sort of humanist vicar who believes that godliness and good learning go well together. If he were to succeed, good authors would sleep easier in their beds.”

But others keep their reactions more tempered. One bestselling author said: “I sadly fear that Tim’s venture is quixotic … with supermarkets at one end and the internet at the other, the high-street chains are being crushed in a terrifying fashion.”

Meanwhile, Publishing News has more on Waterstone’s partner in his quest to regain his old company, equity buyer Anthony Forbes Watson. Though reluctant to disclose details, he did tell PN the following: “In the simplest sense, we want to recreate the great experience that was obtainable from Waterstone’s in the past – but in today’s market. We think we can improve the experience of shopping in Waterstone’s.” And further noted that “range and presentation and passion are magical things in bookselling…It’s an infectious experience being in a store that can offer them that. Waterstone’s doesn’t at the moment…The trick is to pull that off and fight effectively against competitive channels.”