I’ve never been on for things like club cards and nectar points so when Waterstones launched a points card i signed up with a great deal of scepticism. But as I look back over the year I have to concede it has worked.
Fundamentally from a Waterstones point of view I have bought more books. The card has not necessarily been the incentive, with the occasional promotions with double points etc, but it has encouraged me to buy a book when I can put some points towards it and reduce the cost/guilt of the purchase.
But there has been another consequence of having the card and that is with most chain bookshops disappearing off the high street it has in noticeable and probably unconscious ways, made me closer to the Waterstones brand. The ability to get a magazine for free is also a bonus that works.
Throughout the year I have used my points, regularly tendered the card unprompted at a purchase and it’s always in the wallet. That means it has been for me at least a success.
Went into Waterstones in Greenwich this lunchtime just to get some ideas for presents and it was packed to the rafters. The crowds slowly shuffled past tables with the 3 for 2 offers and dodging elbows was a real challenge but plenty of book buying was being done.
Great to see so many people out book shopping and hopefully those that receive the books as gifts will be back themselves in the new year to add to their book collection.
I have driven past Daunt Books but not had the chance to get inside. But that was finally remedied today and what a visual experience. A galleried showroom takes the breath away. But what really inspires is the way books are sorted by country. next time I go away on holiday this is going to be a first destination. Funds are sadly lacking right now but there was inspiration on every shelf. The Swiss section alone had me learning and drooling.
If there is one major lesson from holidaying in the UK, I’ve been to France or Switzerland for the past four years, it is that you don’t need to take as many books with you as you might have thought.
I packed about 8 or 9 books to last up to ten days on holiday but on the first night after pitching the tent wandered into Swanage, near where I was staying, to discover an Oxfam bookshop. Come Monday morning and you can imagine I was straight in there buying three books which I read over the next few days.
These three could of course have saved on some pre-holiday packing and it made me think that next time I put the tent in the car I will also check locations of new and second hand bookshops near the holiday destination. It might well save some packing.
The shop is a book lovers dream with well stocked shelves and helpful staff providing an oasis in Bloomsbury. If you ever go to The British Museum for a day out then its only a quick walk away and well worth a visit.
This is a difficult one because everytime I buy a book from Amazon I feel as if I’m taking food out of the mouth of an independent bookseller and that is not a good feeling.
The problem is that when it comes to buying new releases in hard back it is very difficult ignoring Amazon because it does offer prices that are 50% or even more. So it was with a couple of clicks that this afternoon I found myself ordering The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, the new book from David Mitchell. At £8 something it is half the price of the £18.99 cover price.
It might well have saved me money but that feeling of guilt remains and sadly I’m not sure what to do about it. If I could afford to turn my nose up at the Amazon offer I would but I can’t. The positive I guess is that I only buy one or two hard backs a year sticking to the paperback format nearly all the time because of the weight of books commuting.
If you find yourself at the airport before going away without your chosen reading material already packed then you might struggle. Although there are plenty of WH Smith branches offering a selection of sorts there is nowhere near the depth you need to make a decent choice. Plus the deals on offer tend to push the reader towards a supermarket type selection of best sellers that only make economic sense if you buy more than one or two.
But before this post slips into pure moaning let it be said that one advantage are the special airport paperback versions of hardbacks yet to appear in that format. These exclusive editions remind me a bit of the paperback readers club which used to specialise something similar. But if there is something you are after and were worried it might weigh a lot in hardback format then the airport bookshop might just turn up trumps.
Those interested in politics can flick through the biographies and texts pondering the use of power and look up from the shelves and take in the view of the Houses of Parliament at the Parliamentary Bookshop.
One of the reasons I still go to Cambridge has been to visit the excellent Galloway & Porter. But sadly the town has lost one of its attractions with Galloway & Porter falling into administration. The bookshop and its legendary warehouse sales were a reral highlight after the schlep up the M11. What a great shame that things have come to this.
Thanks so much to Amro for alerting me to the news and it’s a shame that neither of us could get to the closing down sale which started last Saturday. Mind you through this recession there have been several opportunities to go to closing down sales and it feels like intruding in a clown suit at a funeral.
reading is forever not just when the books are cheap.