Amazon Kindles are set to go on sale at Waterstones stores across the country on the 25th October and I must admit that I have mixed feelings about the book chain’s new business venture.
I am a traditionalist and I love reading a book that I can hold in my hand and turn the pages rather than something on a screen. I look at a screen all day so I don’t want to be concentrating on another, smaller screen when I’m relaxing and reading a book. I appreciate that e-book readers are great for some circumstances such as travelling, but I just don’t think that they are for me.
The founder of Waterstones, Tim Waterstone, once described Amazon as “killing the British books industry” but the bookshop’s managing director, James Daunt, seems to have decided if you can’t beat them, join them with this new deal.
I suppose it’s easy to get sentimental about bookshops, especially if you’re an avid reader like I am, and I think you can forget that they are businesses relying on profit just like any other company. Perhaps I would have preferred it if the bookshop chain stood their ground and didn’t bend with the mounting pressure, but on the other hand adapting to trends is one of the keys to a successful and longstanding business.
Waterstones hasn’t completely forgotten its roots and its new marketing campaign aims to emphasise how important a physical bookshop is. The new slogans include ‘Words cannot do justice to the pleasures of a good bookshop. Ironically’ and ‘A good book will keep you fascinated for days, a bookshop for your whole life.’
I know that I’m being stubborn about this but I’m a committed bookshop lover and I’m going to do my absolute best to avoid buying an e-book reader for as long as possible. I hope that Kindle sales will boost Waterstones’ sales though: I don’t want them to leave our high streets!