5.8.10

Books


It is evident that Waterstones is working very hard to stay open in a cultural and economic climate that is proving extremely challenging to book sellers. I'm happy to see them work so hard, because they just might stand a chance. I'm also sad to see them work so hard because I wouldn't like to think that the Borders closures were just the beginning.

I love books and view the introduction of digital 'readers' like Amazon's kindle with some trepidation. Yes, the idea of carrying around an entire library in some natty hand-held device is appealing, but there's so much more to books than the words. Books, like vinyl LPs, have almost become fetish objects - transcending their original purpose to become objects of beauty and comfort. To me, a place isn't a home without books, and the titles lining my shelves say something about my husband and me to anyone who comes into our home. And I can't remember how many times I read someone raving about the chic collection of coffee table books decorating Carrie's home in the second Sex and the City film.

But I digress - this is supposed to be about Waterstones. I paid a visit to the one on Sauchiehall Street the other day and marvelled at how totally on the ball they are. Their customer service is excellent, they offer a loyalty scheme with points that can be applied to purchases, and I noticed posters advertising that UK delivery is free if you buy from their website. And they have countless 3 for 2 deals. I went in for one very specific book (The Right to Write by Julia Cameron) and left with two others (a book on Egyptian mythology and Daniel Clowes' newest, Wilson, which is typically brilliant and sad and funny).

They didn't have the Julia Cameron book I wanted in store, but I decided to give their website a go. It had never occurred to me to visit their site for any other reason than to check their opening times (happily, they don't close until 7pm most nights). Like many people, I automatically visit Amazon when I need books. Like Amazon, the Waterstone's site is easy to use, and I found the book I wanted very quickly. I got my loyalty points, my delivery was free, so now I just have to wait for the book to arrive.

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