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      14.03.2013 00:54
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      My ideal front room.

      Established: 1982 by Tim Waterstone
      288 stores
      Currently owned by a Russian billionaire called Alexander Mamut

      Now the fees of keeping a community library open is far too much in the current financial climate - the focus for me is to use the high street book retailer as if they're going out of fashion, thanks to the online Amazon forest 'fire' aimed at conventional book store staff. The high street book retailer's plight already written - their staff literary wizards who're knowledgeable about the works of Rand, Kafka, and Malraux - they don't shirk intellectual / customer service responsibility easily, unlike a plethora of governmental organizations that can't wait to offload your enquiry onto a long line of head-set androids, programmed via auto-cue. Listen up; you can be taught a lot from the intellect of acne-scarred Waterstone staff, which has got a passion for books. Their attire can't be mistaken for a random meanderer either - who wears black T'shirts on a bitterly cold day? These intellectual warriors are working tirelessly such as; filing books in chronological order, pointing in the general direction of a book genre not dissimilar to a scarecrow on a windy day, and discussing the complexities of the literary world, as if it is second nature. On several occasions, I've prompted eye contact with a youthful Waterstone staff member and proceeded to ask what I thought was a reasonably tough question. "Is 'Narcopolis' on the short-list for the Man-Booker Prize this year (2012)?" Quick as a flash, the reply comes in: "Yep, sure is, Thayil is hitting the right notes according to Faber & Faber." I was taken aback by his acumen. The next time, I asked a different staff member at a different Waterstones this: "who will win the Man Booker Prize 2012?' Without a flinch of uncertainty she replied coyly; 'Bring Up the Bodies' by Hilary Mantel; Thomas Cromwell is a difficult subject." An astonishingly precise hunch as it so happens from a book-worm who would've still be at her Primary School at the turn of the century. Waterstones obviously are adept at choosing their staff. Predominantly they 'gotta' love books - be mindful of book events - have a lengthily frontal lobe - have signs of acne on their gaunt cheeks and speak in a quiet intellectual manner, just loud enough audibly over the complaining of the floorboards. Not that complaining floorboards irk me, if truth to be known it is comforting - Waterstones can get away with it as it adds to the wooden ambiance and library-ness of the retail experience - and all Waterstone browsers have a warm-feeling inside when libraries are in our thoughts, visible on their ebullient faces.

      One particular evening I found myself peering into the Waterstone's shop window display where they prop up books, show events, give details on talks, and notify the consumer about author visits; notably, Will Self was visiting the store for a book signing on 11th October 2012. I noticed the 'W' had changed. Waterstones call it the 'new, old logo' - yeah, a contradiction, was my first impression, however the text inside the 'W' read: 'Feel every word' repetitively within the 'W'. The old label comes from the old type face 'W' - a curvier serif - a Bob Gill design attitude. A prod into the subliminal minds of the consumer - a reminder that Waterstones are thinking outside the box when it came to getting noticed, then I notice people just walk-by, tapping on their smart-phone screens, their eyes barely away from the digital devices. Reality feels me with dread; our obsession with the portable device could be the death-knell to the great establishments that provide us lovely scented new books - alas, you can't get that on a Kindle, yet! Although, I know a Japanese brand is fascinated to provide us with a 'scratch n sniff' app concept. The thing is, what bugs me is why would you re-invent as an 'app' when you can get the experience free of charge at Waterstones in droves? No surprise Waterstone is fighting back, via contacting up and coming authors to give Waterstones exclusive rights, instead of bowing to the gargantuan marketing animal of Amazon. Somehow, I feel the inevitable lawsuits stepping up the ante - as loyalty plays a vital part in this war of traditional books versus the electronic books. The slogan of - 'Feel every word' - configures to; 'touch the print - smell the print.' I'm feeling a tad guilty having got a Kindle too - I want the best of both worlds' - in my case it is peripheral greed, well that is what I tell myself anyhow. However, to my horror I'm not alone, I've witnessed Waterstone staff members sneakily reading from a Kindle. Capitalism is notoriously capricious. Don't they have any shame? At least I could claim I have nothing on paper to prove a form of loyalty to Waterstones, yet morally I'm fighting a subconscious battle. Walking into a Waterstones is an experience to cherish, I'm for the establishment to do what it takes to survive - although, I cannot or will not relate to the concept of Waterstones deploying a license to allow them to have an extra chapter from mainstream authors, if bought from a Waterstones non-virtual bookshop. Surely when a book is finished it is finished, the same as any add-ons; it de-values the content just as if Edouard Manet's controversial painting of 'Olympia' (1863); didn't really depict a black slave, but a cherub instead, more in keeping with Titian's 'Olympia' 300 hundred years prior. Moving the goal-posts only throws up the books, paintings, legitimacy - hence, this'll irreversibly damage the credibility of the creative arts. For example, could we cope with another verse of lyrical torture from the likes of David Bowie's 'You feel so lonely you could die?' - "I can see you as a corpse... Hanging from a beam." Four minutes! I doubt I could manage another thirty seconds. Waterstones have collaborated with the publishers Transworld in a bid to secure extra chapters from author Joanne Harris - a watershed episode for our book industry although 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' was the first book to add extra chapters a couple of years after it's first publication - if this became the norm, faith in our books would deplete. A lose, lose scenario that Waterstones advocated. Maybe worth asking the young, bright staff at Waterstones of their opinion - "Do you think Waterstones collaboration with Transworld will reshape literature for the better or worse?"

      One thing for sure if Waterstones weren't owned by A&NN Capital Fund Management; Waterstones stance would've harnessed creativity for authors not cheapen it. Fortunately the high street book shop Waterstones is a welcoming, labyrinth of intrigue, knowledge and wonderment - In years to come I don't want to add greed and Machiavellian to the equation - maybe this is what a book store has to become to survive, in the twenty first century. My romanticism towards a decent bookshop whereby aromatic coffee blends mingles perfectly with the new print scent, I'm in Waterstones for far longer than I anticipated. This is no mistake, it is carefully planned - the dregs say so, at the base of my Costa coffee mug.

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        07.05.2010 15:34
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        A great shop.

        I have just visited a waterstones store and had a great experience so thought I would write a review on them.

        The store I visited was Telford, which isn't a huge store, it only has one floor, but it is crammed with books, and I thought I knew what I was looking for and found the section straight away.

        I was looking for a book for my husbands best friend, who is 30 next week. We were going to get him a book on the Amazon, as he has been there and loved it and never stops talking about it.

        After looking in the travel section of the store, I was having no joy in finding anything about the Amazon, there were books on Brazil, but that's not quite what I wanted, so I asked a member of staff, and they very helpfully pointed me in the direction of Nature and found the only book in the whole store about the Amazon very quickly. The book was not what I was looking for so I decided to leave it.

        I later went back to the store with a plan to buy a David Attenborough book, as this would be a good gift too. The staff again showed me to the correct section very quickly and talked me through a couple of options. They were so helpful, and really knew a lot about the books. They didn't make me feel silly for looking in the wrong section either.

        I purchased the David Attenborough Life Stories book, and when I got to the till I noticed there was a slight mark on the paper cover, so I asked if they had any others in stock. The lady at the till checked for me, without question and said they hadn't but that she would give me a 10% discount as there was a mark, and she did point out that it's non refundable if you accept the discount, which I thought was fair enough.

        Every member of staff I encountered was so pleasant, I was really pleased, and would happily buy books from there again, but while I was there I also noticed that the store was very neat and tidy, and the book sections were all clearly labelled and there were a few bargain tables which I would have loved to have a mooch through but didn't have the time. They had a separate childrens section, which also looked like it had some great books too.

        I think if you are looking for a book as a gift this is a great store, I would happily buy from there again. They had a huge range of books for such a small store, so
        I can imagine the bigger stores are even better. The staff were friendly and helpful, and I came away with what I wanted. The books are clearly laid out, and separated into sections, which are very helpful if you are looking for specifics.

        I know that books are cheaper from places like Amazon and various other internet sites, but I needed a book quickly, and the help from the staff was worth the extra money. I also ended up buying a couple of extra little books by the till for my husband as his birthday is the day before his best friends.

        I would highly recommend this store. Great customer service and a huge range.

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        05.08.2009 20:25

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        If you are going to use Waterstones - make sure the book is in stock not an estimated delivery time

        Don't bother with Waterstones unless you are sure the book is in stock. I ordered a book on the 20th May hoping to receive it in time for my wife's birthday on the 8th June. Admittedly, the entry did say "Usually despatched within 7-10 days" but that should still have been fine. Needless to say nothing arrive. I was patient but eventually contacted them two months later. I got a feeble response saying that they were contacting the publishers, who would let me know via e-mail when it was due to arrive (incidentally the despatch time on the website still said 7-10 days). Needless to say I still heard nothing. A further 3 weeks went by (27th July now) before I contacted them again at which point they said that they automatically cancelled any orders over 60 days old and promptly did so (the website still says delivery within 7-10 days!). In fact this is was a blessing in disguise, as I then went through Abebooks, using Brown Books of Hull. Ordered on 31st July, book arrived on the 5th August - very prompt and efficient. I won't be using Waterstones again because it is basically a big store that does not care. It presumably lives off its name and does not worry about losing custom, enticing more people in by putting books on its lists that it has no hope of delivering.

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        24.02.2004 19:36
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        Waterstones Piccadilly is an enormous book store. It has 7 floors and is apparently the largest book shop in Europe. That I can believe. When shopping here it could be easy to become overwelmed, but helpful and friendly staff are always around to point customers in the right direction. This branch of Waterstones has had every book i have ever wanted, so many genres and so many speacialist titles are kept in stock...and if they havent got it they will order it for you. The staff at waterstones Piccadilly are very knowledgable and are always happy to assist in a search for that important item, they know what they are doing and do it well with a smile. I find Waterstones piccadilly well worth the trip and time it takes me to get into central london...i may pass other book stores on the way but they just dont compare!

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          18.10.2002 22:00
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          Until recently I had always been a fan of the Internet bookshops and Amazon.co.uk in particular. Whether it was the savings I was making in terms of the cost of books or the fancy recommendations feature I just couldn't stay away from that trusted site. That idea changed just last week when I started to settle into a pattern of study for the final year of my Media degree. Being the year of the dreaded dissertation one of the things I find myself engrossed in is a constant search for books relevant to my chosen topic. When you perform a search on Amazon you never quite know what will pop up and it tends to be a bit hit and miss. Sometimes there are books you think you'll find interesting but are too prudent to part with some cash in case it's not so useful after all. It's at times like this when the Internet bookshops fail and the High Street bookshops such as Waterstones come into their own. You embark upon an experience when you enter Waterstones that gives rise to an indulgence whereby you come across hidden gems of literary genius. There's something about the smell, the ambience and silent hush of a bookshop that could never be replicated on the Internet. Waterstones is a store that appeals to your senses and the layout, design and atmosphere it presents conjure up feelings of being in a dated library. The commercial aspect is somewhat adrift, you can relax and read before you buy, you can read even if you don't want to buy and there is nothing to disturb you but for the niggling sound of the modern day checkouts. Quite often I will venture into the branch of Waterstones on my University campus simply to wander round and see what items are new, if any books relevant to my course have popped onto the shelves or simply to purchase a newspaper. One of the distinctive features of Waterstones is its location. Almost certain to be found on the larger High Streets you will also find a branch in many universities up and down the
          country. For that reason one store will be different from another. The branches located on a university campus tend to have a smaller selection of fiction titles and are usually littered with textbooks, stacked high on tables. The High Street stores tend to have a more varied selection of books ranging from the academic titles, to children's and the most up to date bestsellers. Waterstones is by no means a simple bookshop and quite often there are magazines, newspapers, CD's and book related accessories to be found dotted throughout the store. In the university branches there is quite often a selection of stationery to be had. One of the defining features of Waterstones is its layout. The shelves are black and customized in such a way as to represent a traditional library. Depending on the size of the actual store, there are often reading areas set aside for customers and potential customers to browse through the hundreds of books for sale. I'm not sure if it is the case with every branch but quite often the shop will be housed in a building of traditional design, often with Georgian windows, spiral staircases and such like, hammering home the theme of the traditional library. Certainly the branch on Royal Avenue in Belfast and Princes Street in Edinburgh would support such a suggestion. In terms of service at Waterstones, the staff tend to be exceptionally helpful. As someone once employed as a mystery shopper one of my assignments was to rate the level of service at a local Waterstones branch. You might like to know that if you request a book they are obliged to try and find it for you at all costs. Whether it is a case of ordering it for you, searching it from the store or simply locating it on the shelf they generally tend to be helpful on this one. Likewise when you purchase a book they are required to present it to you, in a bag, with the logo of Waterstones clearly visible to you when they hand it over. Alas it's customer ser
          vice like this that we consumers come to appreciate and detail such as this keeps us coming back for more. Price is the all-important factor when it comes to purchasing books (at least it is for me anyway) and Waterstones does tend to adhere to the recommended retail price for most titles. That's not to say it isn't competitive - when you consider that delivery on most Internet bookshops is around £2 at minimum, any savings you make on the price can be eradicated by the cost of delivery. Somehow waiting upwards of 24 hours for a book to arrive on your doorstep doesn't have the same appeal as perusing through shelves of books only to encounter your chosen title and sift through its contents. Waterstones, despite it's traditional appeal, is a modern store making use of new technology to provide for the customer and as with most retailers you will find they accept most credit cards as a means of payment. Until recently you could shop online at their website but they've since teamed up with Amazon and the site really is Amazon under a different name. In days gone by you could order a book online and have it delivered to your local branch as well as checking availability of titles but I'm not sure that?s the case with the new Amazon venture. My only quibble with Waterstone's lies in it's acquisition of the Dillions chain. We used to have a Dillions and a Waterstone's in the centre of Belfast and now we just have two branches of Waterstone's. The unfortunate aspect of that is that the scope for book signings is essentially limited since no author is likely to travel to two branches of the same shop within a few yards of each other. The same too can be said of it's venture with Amazon since competition is limited in what is simply a repackaged Amazon.co.uk In all, there is a lot to be said for Waterstones. I find the element of nostalgia within the store as having a luring effect, drawing me i
          n to buy books. There really is nothing to beat a meander through a bookshop even if it's only to browse and I have to admit it's something that Waterstones make enjoyable.

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            23.05.2002 15:55
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            Everyone has brought a book. And to them it was just buying a book. You know just popping into the local WHSmiths or bookshop choosing a buying, nothing special just another transaction. Waterstones makes this transaction pleasurable and relaxing infact you could spend hours browsing the shelves deciding what to buy. Firstly I will talk about the stores in general. From outside the store looks sophisticated and professional. They have plenty of billboards in the windows advertising new books. Inside the stores there is a lot to commend. Firstly the whitewashed walls and laminated wooden floors make a nice atmosphere. There are also a few comfy chairs around the place so you can relax whilst looking few some potential purchases. The way the books are stacked are very nice, the shelves look very good. Everything is well labelled. You will never get lost in Waterstones. Everything is divided up into sections and these sections are very easy to find. Normally the stores have two floors, the bottom floor or one half the shop is full of fiction and novels whilst the other half is full of sports books and other books. Everyone would find browsing in Waterstones a very easy and relaxing time. Secondly the staff are very nice and helpful. If you have a query they will help you immediately and not keep you waiting. They are always polite and ask you if you need any help. The range of the shops is great. It has all the latest novels out. The shops all have a book chart so you can find the latest bestsellers immediately. I think they have books on just about anything. Sport, films, dance, music, novels, fiction, fantasy. The list is endless. If they haven?t got a book they will always order it for you and give you a call when it arrives. I find that Waterstones is the best place to shop when looking for some good holiday beach reading books. They always have sections on the best summer holiday books or relaxing books to read on the beach. T
            hey are very helpful in finding something you would like reading. I think that Waterstones is the best bookshop. I don?t usually purchase books from anywhere else. They are by far the best bookshops around. If you need to buy a birthday present or need a book for your summer hols then drop in you?re bound to find something you like.

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              03.03.2002 23:10
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              Waterstones is a well known high street bookshop and the place I always purchase my books. The reason I always come here as soon as I hear a title I want is out is because they will always have it, some book shops can be disappointing and never have books in. The good thing about this shop is they sell magazines and every book in all different sections, such as Fiction, Authors A-Z, Childrens Fiction, then books for college and high school students to help them with harder subjects. There is a Waterstones in every city, and where I live in Edinburgh they have two, and it's nice in the one on Princes Street because they have a coffee shop upstairs, Starbucks so you can buy your book then sit upstairs and read it. I was in this shop today and I also like it because I noticed that they have some books signed by the authors today I saw Anne Fine had signed some books and Mike Gayle, I don't know if it's more expensive for a signed copy or not but it's definitely gor more of a chance of being a collector's item if it's signed and it's special to. The workers are always happy to help because one time I couldn't find the book I was looking for in the shop I was in so they phoned all other branches in the city, it wasn't there so they happily ordered it in for me and then phoned me when it was in so I thought that was really good. The Edinburgh branch has always been a good one because many famous authors hold their book signing here, when J.K Rowling came here to sign it was very busy even though she wasn't that famous and everyone got their Harry Potter books signed, I am also sure Ian Rankin came here to sign a book and also many others. I recommend this book shop to everyone because it's probably the best one around and it has every book possible here and they always have offers going on like so many books for £10 etc. or buy one book by this author and get another free title by
              the same author.

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                10.02.2001 01:12
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                I love Waterstones. I love the classical music faintly audible in the background in many branches. I love the old buildings they often use as stores. I love the unashamedly quaint and pseudo-intellectual atmosphere they seem to promote. I even love the name. The truth is that when I buy a book I want to feel as though I'm doing something terribly clever and increasingly rare. In this age of saturrated television, Playstations, and everything else, buying a book seems rather novel (excuse the pun). For the same reason I often buy old classics or historical volumes. Stock-wise Waterstones seems to be pretty comprehensive. I rarely go into one of their big London stores and not come out with what I want. The layout is efficient and uncluttered and I've never once encountered a member of staff who is not friendly and helpful. My only worry is that Waterstones will continue to eat up so much of the competition that they will become complacent, which could lead to a weaker service. But in the meantime, they are certainly a good, reliable high street store.

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                  01.02.2001 01:31
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                  I love shopping at Waterstone, because I can sit in their comfortable chairs and read a book or so for an hour without being told to hurry up. They really don’t mind, it’s nice and warm and there’s so many books to chose from, that once I’m in, it’s difficult to get back out. There are quite a lot of sections in Waterstone, so you really do need the help of their kind personnel, which they have one situated on every floor. So, if you want to pay, you don’t have to go all the way back down stairs. The availability of book is excellent, they have a huge range, and they stock most academic books for students, biographies, and other non-fiction books. I can never resist the tempting offers they have, like buy three for £20…..irresistible. The prices are reasonable, you may be able to find it cheaper on the internet but there’s nothing like hand picking a good books, getting a good feel for it, then rushing home to read it with a cup of tea. You can find Waterstones on most high streets, and if you ever get the chance go down to a lecture when a famous person gives a talk, it’s really interesting and if your luck you can get your book signed. I love this book shop, nothing on the internet can beat it, even though you may able to find the books a touch cheaper, once you have paid for delivery, the prices should equal out most of the time. Customer service is excellent they can check if your book is in stock, and which floor it is on. Although, it can get busy on weekdays it’s got a quite almost peaceful atmosphere, perfect to find a book you won’t be able to put down. I think Waterstone is an excellent book shop, I’m a great fan of their book tokens and always give them to my friends as gifts. So, they can enjoy shopping at Waterstone as much I do.

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                  28.08.2000 05:05
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                  This Waterstones store is huge: it was formerly Simpsons department store. It has about five floors of books and four cafes/bars/restaurants. There is seating scattered around so you can sit and browse even without refreshments. However, the store is only good up to a point. It does have a huge range of books, with many different sections, but the stock is not terribly comprehensive. In particular, it concentrates on more recent publications so you are likely to find some novels by most authors, but probably only the newest ones. There's something strangely frustrating about going to a bookshop so large and not being able to find half the books you're looking for. The food and drink places are also okay but not brilliant. In the basement are a cafe (expensive, and the choice of sandwiches is highly variable with stock getting very low some evenings, but delicious coffee and some very good cakes) and the Red Room restaurant. This restaurant is a bit strange - excellent food, albeit expensive, but a limited menu (for vegetarians at least - why is there no veggy option on the fixed price menu?), and it's always virtually empty. By contrast, the fifth floor bar is always too full, so I've never actually tried it out! The juice bar does lovely fresh juice and very little else. On a very positive note, the atmosphere and seating are good. A nice touch is the way they've chosen appropriate seating for each section - sofas in Fiction, desks and chairs for the academic books. Overall, this is a great place to browse, with a huge range of recent publications. You can happily spend an enjoyable few hours here. However, it can't really challenge smaller, specialised bookshops if you want something that isn't either recent or a bestseller.

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