12.01.12 | Bookseller StaffThe chairman of the Apostrophe Society has called Waterstones' dropping of its apostrophe "just plain wrong", as the national press reacted to the change.
The move was reported in the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and on BBC Radio 4's "Today" programme this morning (12th January), with Apostrophe Society chairman John Richards reported as saying: "It's just plain wrong. It's gramatically incorrect. If Sainsbury's and McDonald's can get it right, then why can't Waterstones? You would really hope that a bookshop is the last place to be so slapdash with English."
The Telegraph said the brand reverting to its former style and typeface, using the Baskerville serif font and reinstating the capital "W", was a "consolation for grammar traditionalists", whereas the Mail said dropping the apostrophe "appeared to be a slight to Mr Waterstone, who founded the chain in 1982 with one store in Kensington".
In the Mail's online story, it also reported Twitter users commenting on the move, with one quoted as saying: "Seeing as Waterstones thinks the public is too stupid to manage apostrophes, maybe it's time they just stopped selling books."
M.d. James Daunt called the move "a more versatile and practical spelling" in a "digital world of URLs and email addresses", which "reflects an altogether truer picture of our business today which, while created by one, is now built on the continued contribution of thousands of individual booksellers".
And here is Publishing Perspectives take on the subject:
Waterstones and Apostrophes: Battered on All FontsFabulous! A whole debate about an apostrophe! The Brits eccentric? How dare you! If you’ve missed it, the UK trade is agonizing over Waterstone’s (sorry, Waterstones’) decision to drop the apostrophe from its name. New MD James Daunt thinks that in a digital world of URLs and e-mail addresses, Waterstones without an apostrophe is “a more versatile and practical spelling.” (Hey, Publishers Weekly has been sans an apostrophe forever…)
One can see his point, but you’ve got to feel sorry for these tiny bits of type. They’re battered on all fonts. The unstoppable rise of texting means that many people abandoned them long ago. Teenagers say that apostrophes are something that only their parents use — like e-mail. But a good many parents have let them drop too. And don’t even ask about semi-colons.
Right now McDonald’s must be looking at its signs and thinking: “Do we need that little fella? What a waste.” Just what Waterstones plans to do with its spare apostrophes remains to be seen. Three for two? No, they’ve ditched that. Put in brackets and sold in bundles? Boxed-up with the returns?
A solution might come from an unlikely corner. Cormac McCarthy might put in an offer for them – surprisingly, those little forgotten flecks are the one piece of punctuation he likes.
And sorry about the logo at the right, we just dont, errrr, don’t have the updated one just yet.
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