My Local Bookstore #wwread

This is part of the Where in the World are You Reading meme started by Kailana, Lisa, and Trish – the July theme is Local Bookstore, hosted by Trish.

Intrigued by pictures of Kailana and Christine‘s local bookstores (yes, I’m curious like that), I decided to take part in this meme.  Easier said that done – if this was really where I bought the most books, you’d end up seeing screenshots of Amazon’s website 😉

But the prompt said a physical bricks-and-mortar store which you’ve visited – whether on vacation or one local to you.  So I wandered down to my nearest Waterstones, and had a bit of a photo-taking dilemma.  Was I actually allowed to take photos or would I be rapidly escorted outside as soon as I whipped out the camera?  And to be honest, even if photo-taking was allowed, I felt rather self-conscious snapping photos of the shelves.  So what you get is a few sneaky photos of the shelves taken by my phone camera – sorry!

Some background on Waterstones if you don’t live in the UK – it’s pretty much the only major national high-street bookstore chain still in existence.  I haven’t been following the news that closely, but James Daunt (who runs a smaller chain of bookstores called Daunt Books) was brought in to run the company fairly recently – his strategy, from what I gather, is to “localise” the bookstores, giving more purchasing power to local store managers as opposed to dictating everything centrally.  Recent Waterstones’ decisions that have hit the headlines: (1) their partnership with Amazon where they’ll start selling Kindles in-store (either a brilliant or terrible idea – I’m honestly not sure which it is yet) and (2) the dropping of the apostrophe in the name (surely there are better things to do!).

I don’t buy very much at Waterstones – mostly due to the fact I read the majority of my books on the Kindle (so it’ll be interesting to see how their Amazon partnership plays out), but also because it’s cheaper to buy paper books online (I know).  But I do buy the occasional book there – probably a couple every other month.  Usually a total impulse buy (Ernest Cline‘s READY PLAYER ONE) or when I really want a hardcover (they had numbered signed editions of Laini Taylor‘s DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE).

So with all that said, here are the photos I took (click for larger photos):

The picture on the left is one of the displays near the front of the store with children’s books for the Olympics.  I think I’m almost Olympic’d out and it hasn’t even started!

The two mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville, are pictured on the cover of four of the books.  They’re growing on me – I admit I joined in the chorus of ???!!!!! when they were first revealed, but they have a certain charm.  Sorry about the blank spaces in the display – a result of my hasty point-and-shoot approach!

The picture to the right is another display table – this one with a Great Britain theme.  I’m not familiar with a lot of the authors on the table (all my deep dark secrets coming out obviously) but I did see Ben Aaronovitch‘s MOON OVER SOHO – I liked the first book, RIVERS OF LONDON, so will probably get around to reading this soon-ish.

The picture on the left shows part of the shelves with staff recommendations on the cards below them.  A pretty eclectic mix, and I like looking at the recs, but I rarely find one that appeals to me.  On the right is a  display of ummm… postcards, I think.  My bookstore has quite a few non-book items – I think this is increasingly common across the board.

And the final picture on the right is the (small) urban fantasy section – or Dark Fantasy, as it’s termed in Waterstones.  You get the usual suspects – Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris, Laurell K Hamilton, Sherilyn Kenyon, Richelle Mead, JR Ward, etc.  There’s the Nalini Singh Psy-Changeling series on the lower right shelf.  All these are UK editions – if I had put more thought into this picture-taking thing, I would have turned some of these books to face cover out!

So that’s all the photos I snapped.  How does your local bookstore match up?  I’d love to hear about yours (and also your take on taking photos in-store!).


18 thoughts on “My Local Bookstore #wwread

  1. I used to think that the Waterstones stores looked amazing when I lived in the UK, but I never really shopped there that much.

    I need to make a trip to my local shops to take some photos.

    • I’d love to see your bookstore!

      Waterstones have gone through quite a few changes decor-wise, IIRC. I like their Piccadilly store best – it has a certain atmosphere.

  2. Oh, at least you still have a brick and mortar bookstore around, Li! Even the closest Barnes and Noble bookstore in my area was closed. I can’t tell you how tough that is for me since I just love, love going to a physical bookstore.

    These days, as you say above, a post like this for me would show the “amazon front page.” I tend to visit bookstores when I travel, though… I hunt them down. LOL!

    • I am exactly the same when travelling – I can’t go past a bookstore without popping in “just to have a quick look”!

      I do feel torn – like you, I love physical bookstores, but they rarely have a wide range of books in the genres I read. So I end up buying online and then feeling guilty because I’m not supporting the brick-and-mortar stores.

  3. I am glad you joined in!! I have heard of Waterstones before, but that is about the extent of it. The fantasy section looks like the one at my chain bookstore, though… Although, Patricia Briggs is rarely ever stocked…

    • Surely it’s not possible to have a UF section without Patricia Briggs 😉

      It’s a vast improvement from previous years – it used to be just SFF and Horror, and UF books shelved randomly in either section, IIRC.

      I love the meme concept, btw!

  4. Hi Li,
    So glad you joined in with this meme. It’s fun seeing other people’s local bookstores, isn’t it? Thanks so much for sharing about Waterstones. Interesting how they’re going to partner with amazon. You’ll have to let us know how that pans out. I’m going to keep my eye out for Waterstones when we’re in London. 🙂

    As I said in my post, I do tend to buy online and at Barnes & Noble. The former because of their cheaper prices and the latter because they are just so big and have pretty much everything in stock when you want it.

    I am going to make bigger attempts to order from the local Indie store I showcased on my #wwread post because I do believe in supporting local businesses.

    • I like to think I would spend more at a local indie store if I had one, but suspect it would really depend on the books they stock.

      And you’re right, it’s really fun looking at other people’s bookstores! And if you’re in the area, I do recommend their store on Piccadilly – really good for a browse.

  5. Darren also shared Waterstones bookstore for this month’s theme and even though it’s a chain I’m so glad you guys decided to share! I especially appreciate the history and current happenings. We still have a few chains holding on but I haven’t been hearing good news for BooksAMillion lately.

    Even though youre burned out on Olympics already I hope you grabbed a book as a keepsake! 😉

    • Darren’s Waterstones is SO much cooler than mine. Gah. Mine is a standard shopping mall one. Just goes to show how unique “chain bookstores” can be. It’s tough times for bookstores, isn’t it!

      I’m still debating what I’m going to get as an Olympics souvenir!

  6. I felt pretty creepy taking pictures inside my local store, too! We shopped at a Waterstones when we visited London last year – it had a familiar Barnes & Noble feeling for me 🙂

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