Wednesday, June 29, 2011

James Daunt’s Difficult Task: Remake Waterstone’s, But In Whose Image?

Publishing Perspectives

Like Jesus in the Biblical parable of the loaves and fishes, new Waterstone’s MD James Daunt will have to perform a miracle to multiply the magic of his eponymous six-strong bookstore chain to feed the masses.
Although Daunt has been scathing about Waterstone’s and multiple retail in the past, the opportunity to reinvent British bookselling’s last chain standing was too tempting to pass up.
Daunt will also have to manage hyperbolic industry expectations, and demonstrate that he can adapt and apply his bookselling magic outside the city-state of London. Many Waterstone’s shops are in areas of rising unemployment, poor education or limited aspiration. Does Waterstone’s retreat to an elite fastness, and surrender its national presence, or can the model be adapted sufficiently to deliver quality -– and profitability -– across the country?


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