Monday, February 04, 2008

Monday Already?


Here we go again then. I've just tried to get through to Tim (sometimes, there's no getting through to him), and he's obviously on the phone to our solicitor.

Tim's just phoned me. He was on the phone to our solicitor.

Today is going to be one of those waiting days. This fax will either arrive with the solicitor today or tomorrow (or never, obviously), and then it's up to our bank to release the money.
So in the meantime...
I've done another article for an online magazine called transitiontradition, about the bookshop.
I'm loving this book at the moment.
It's aimed at children, but so what. It starts in 1589, and our hero has just found out his Mum's a witch and she has a talking cat that can help him travel through time. As he does so, he discovers sinister goings on, and begins to try and unravel who's behind them. It's written in short chapters, so it would be brilliant to read to kids before bed, the characters are realistic and the story goes along at a fantastic pace. Great fun.
Tomorrow I shall be discussing Tolstoi's prevarication for contemplating the three stages of man in his literature, but let's stick to rollicking kid's books for the time being.
Me and Tim are finalising the design for our uniform today, as this will obviously help us in recommending backlist to our customers. Any thoughts?


Alis said...

Great article, Simon!
Uniforms... i think that says everything we need to know about WAterstones.

Richard said...

Possibly you could just have one of those useful badges hung round your neck with lots of bits of papers stuck in it. In fact, I found mine recently. It still had a couple of customer order requests and a "to-do" list in it from 1998.

Lauren said...

I sporadically find random ISBNs scrawled on the back of torn up topseller reports in redundant pockets. I also have a fine collection of promotional t shirts which are now worn for cleaning, decorating and hair dyeing.

As a more eco/bank balance friendly alternative you could get some of those t shirts with the velcro letters and rearrange them to spell out the title of your current hot recommend. With any luck this should cut out you having to speak to any customers at all and give you more time to pyramid your tables. ;-p

Angela Young said...

Funny hats? Silly walks? ... and is it also true that sometime this year Waterstone's plan to prevent their staff reading while working? Or did I just make that up?

Simon Key said...

Angela, I don't know how to break this to you, but the staff have never been allowed to read while working...Seriously.
Lauren, we could hire our t-shirts as advertising space. Great thinking!
Richard, I wonder if those customers have had their books yet, you naughty bookseller.
Alis, you know what I think.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm in the minority - but I find it really frustrating that I waterstones i never have a clue who works there - i've had too many awkward moments after I've sked for help only to be told "sorry i dont work here" - now i just give up
So for me something with a w on would be a help
I'm sure people will throw individuality as anti argument - but if youre individuality/personality relies on a shirt then you are in sad state

john said...

Couldn't agree more with the last comment- it's true of all other chains and actually, dare one say it, some independent bookshops too.

Simon Key said...

anon & John.
Thanks for your comments, and I'm really interested in giving this a bit more blog space. In order to have a debate, rather than me ranting as usual, could either of you put together a 300 word argument in favour of uniforms in Waterstone's. I will then publish it on the smae day as my 300 word argument against it. Hope that sounds fair. Email or message me,

john said...


it's not just Waterstone's it's lots of other places- Blackwells, Borders and a few independent stores I've been into. You can't find someone to help you, especially at weekends.

Simon Key said...

exchange the word Waterstone's to Bookshop. The offer still remains.

Kate said...

It was certainly interesting to be informed by that article that we were all getting the things...

John said...

kind offer Simon but I'll leave it to the experts.

Anonymous said...


I was the anon that was in favour - I'm not going to do the 300 words probably because i'm too lazy but also because I came at it form a customer and as most customers thre isntmuch logic to what i think - its a gut thing whcih doesnt translate too well into reasoned argument!
Actually I regret posting as i like your blog when its about your bookshop and or books - its funny informative and a good read. When it is about Waterstones I guess i think what does it matter, it kind of comes across a bit like writing about an ex girlfriend - and yes it is my choice not to read it but i just wanted to share my view that your blog doesnt need to talk about the big W as for me it is a bit of a switch off. Do we really need a debate about uniforms - W seem to be doing it you seem to be not!

Anonymous said...

reasoned argument or good spelling!!

Simon Key said...

i so so rarely mention Waterstone's, precisely because of the reason you mention. In fact I can't remember the last time I did. I mentioned it cos it's bookshop related, I would have mentioned it if it had been Borders, Blackwells or whatever.
I won't rant all by myself, and there are other things to talk about.
keep reading, I hope!

Anonymous said...

The first day that I wore my brand spanking new Waterstone's Tee-shirt, I got asked TWICE if I worked there!
However, that's an aside - my comment on this response is about Sarah Matthias. I love both of her books and she's wonderful.