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Posts Tagged ‘Waterstone’s’

Waterstone’s Sales Boosted by HP7

HMV Group Plc, the U.K.’s largest music retailer and owner of the Waterstone’s book chain, reported higher revenue on sales of the new Harry Potter novel and as customers bought more DVDs because of wet summer weather, according to Bloomberg. Same-store sales rose 5.8 percent in the 18 weeks ended Sept. 1, excluding a Japanese unit that was sold, Maidenhead, England-based HMV said today. That compares with a 10 percent slide in the 10 weeks through July 1, 2006.

The results were “partly flattered” by Harry Potter, Numis Securities analyst Jose Marco Tobares said today in a note. “HMV is still a business in structural decline.” Total sales gained 12 percent. Revenue increased 2.7 percent at Waterstone’s stores open at least a year and would have been unchanged on the prior year if it weren’t for the novel about the teenage wizard, HMV said. Total Waterstone’s sales climbed 16 percent after the acquisition of Ottakar’s book stores. The chain is now made up of about 300 outlets.

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Britain Finally Embraces the Graphic Novel

Other countries, most notably America and France, may have embraced the graphic novel format and lauded several notable titles with praise, but as the New York Times’ Tara Mulholland reports, Britain was a little slower to catch on to the form. “On the Continent graphic novels have been as accepted as films or books for many years,” said the author Raymond Briggs in a 2005 interview with the newspaper The Observer, “but England has had a snobby attitude towards them. They’ve always been seen as something just for children.”

But the success of Briggs’ ETHEL & ERNEST, not to mention Chris Ware‘s surprise win of the Guardian First Book Award, has had publishers snapping up would-be graphic novel stars. Jonathan Cape, an imprint of Random House UK, has more than tripled its graphic novel output over the past year, publishing nine new titles since July 2006. Dan Franklin, Cape’s publishing director, said he hoped to increase this number. “When we started about nine years ago with ETHEL AND ERNEST I said that we wouldn’t do more than one a year,” he said. “And they’ve been so successful that I am now doing potentially up to 12 a year, if I can find them.”

Other publishers have hopped on the bandwagon and sales are on the rise. Michael Rowley, the graphic-novel buyer for Waterstone’s, Britain’s largest bookshop chain, said sales of the books had increased 41 percent in the last year alone. S what is behind this sudden wave of enthusiasm for a genre that has previously been sidelined in Britain, wonders Mulholland? For Paul Gravett, the author of GREAT BRITISH COMICS and one of the country’s foremost promoter of graphic novels, one of the primary reasons is simply the creation of the “graphic novel” category. “The word comics is laden with so many negative connotations, while the words ‘graphic novel’ give it a certain cachet,” he said.

Waterstone’s Offers Details on New Supply Plans

Publishing News reports that last week, Waterstone’s announced details of its much-discussed plans for a consolidation center and, with it, its supply chain partner. Unipart Logistics has won a 10- year contract with the retailer covering warehousing and distribution for all Waterstone’s stores and fulfillment for Waterstones.com. Unipart was also responsible for presenting the bookseller with a range of options from which it has chosen a 150,000 sq ft warehouse space in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, which will be fully operational from May 1, 2008. Rob Entwistle, previously General Manager of Central Distribution for the Dixons Store Group, has been appointed to manage the contract with Unipart.

Said Simon Blacklock, Waterstone’s Supply Chain Director: “This is a very important step in the development of Waterstone’s supply chain. It will enable stores, and over 2,500 suppliers, to communicate more efficiently and cost-effectively, as well as being more environmentally sound, as it will deliver a drastic reduction in the use of cardboard and packing material. Unipart has a strong track record of innovation in the supply chain and has demonstrated a very real focus on meeting our key requirements of availability, cost-effectiveness, delivery and service quality. We look forward to the relationship producing many benefits for Waterstone’s and its suppliers.”

Waterstone’s Founder Named University Chancellor

Since Tim Waterstone can’t go around making noises about buying his company back from the evil HMV overlords*, he had to find something else to do. And so he has, according to the Glasgow Herald, who report that Waterstone, the founder of Waterstone’s and former chairman of HMV Media Group, was named yesterday as the new chancellor of Napier University in Edinburgh. For many years a lecturer throughout Britain and Europe on entrepreneurial affairs, he will be officially inaugurated on November 15 as part of the university’s November graduations.

Waterstone said: “I am honoured to have been given this exceptional opportunity. I have long been aware of Napier University and its reputation for forward-thinking and confident graduates. I am keen to draw from my own experiences to link in with the curriculum in the areas of business, music and the centre for entrepreneurship to name just three. There are also several exciting new initiatives which I am very keen to get involved in and take forward in my role.”

We kid, we kid. Mostly, anyway…

LongPen To Debut in Bookstores

After limited success with Margaret Atwood‘s device at the Edinburgh Book Festival – enabling Norman Mailer and Alice Munro to make “appearances” – the book-tour substitute device will make its debut into a record store and several bookstores in Canada, the United States and England for a trial run that could bring fans and their idols closer together. The London Free Press reports that kiosks will be set up at the World’s Biggest Bookstore and HMV‘s flagship record store in Toronto, Barnes & Noble in New York and Waterstone’s in London beginning after Labour Day, and could expand elsewhere if successful.

Spokesperson Bruce Walsh says shops with a LongPen kiosk could soon become hubs for celebrity sightings of a new kind. “You could potentially see the talent in their dressing room, somewhere, and they could actually sign into a bookstore,” says Walsh. “It doesn’t really matter, if there’s a kiosk set up, you can sign all kinds of different kinds of talent into wherever the kiosk happens to be.” But tech observer Richard Worzel of Toronto was skeptical the device — with a fee of roughly $2,000 in Canada and the U.S. and $4,000 in England — would be worth it to a publisher promoting a new artist. “Something like this, you’d have to show quite a lot of demand,” said Worzel.

Publisher Plays Hide and Seek Game in London

The Times’ Elsa McLaren reports that shoppers can discover a true bargain among the bookshelves today after 300 copies of a new novel have been hidden among the titles of unsuspecting bookshops across London. THE IDIOCY OF IDEARS by an unnamed author has been planted in the fiction, poetry, art, philosophy and travel sections of Waterstones, Borders, Foyles and Blackwells in Central London. Deemed a “brilliant expose of an education system that has now all but disappeared” by its publishers, they wanted to spread the word by engaging in “the opposite of shoplifting.”

Will it work? “We don’t think Waterstone’s will say that because it’s been left in their shop therefore it belongs to them,” said Steve Lowe, director of The Aquarium. “I think the ones in the fiction and travel sections will be discovered first, but the ones in the poetry and philosophy sections will probably hang around a lot longer.” No comment as yet from Waterstone’s, and something tells me they will keep mum on this for a while longer…

Waterstone’s Changes Buying Calendar

Booktrade.info reports that book retailer Waterstone’s will change the way they buy books centrally to allow them to confirm buying decisions three months ahead of publication date. As a result W are creating a buying timetable, including a buying week for each month’s new titles, and moving from six monthly highlights presentations to three times yearly presentations where publishers present the key titles for each major season: Spring, Summer and Autumn/Christmas. So W are cancelling all existing appointments and six monthly highlight presentations from late August onwards and rescheduling according to their new timetable.

Samedaybooks is Transaction-Happy

The Bookseller reports that Samedaybooks has bought Country Bookshop, the online bookselling business and community website for 500,000 pounds. The deal does not include the shop, but does include Country Bookshop founder Sridhar Siddegowa, who will join the Samedaybooks management team in order to provide “strategic advice on e-commerce activities across the company”.

It is Charles Denton‘s first acquisition since taking a controlling stake in the troubled retail business earlier this year. Denton, deputy chairman of Samedaybooks, said: “This is our first strategic investment to accelerate our expansion of the company. Countrybookshop.co.uk was a pioneer of online bookselling with a well established brand name, valuable technology, community website software and an extensive customer database. We quickly aim to integrate the business into the Samedaybooks platform to deliver a step change in our growth.”

In other news, Kieron Smith, Waterstone’s online commercial operations manager, is to join Samedaybooks as manager of the company’s e-commerce operations in September. A replacement for Smith at Waterstone’s has not yet been named.

So Was There Some Kind of Book About A Kid Named Harry Released The Other Day?

Cue the perverse irony in leaving town and not having internet access the weekend that HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS landed in bookstores all around the world, but then, I’ve always been one for irony, perverse or otherwise. So without further ado, everybody else’s roundups, news, commentary and such:

  • NYT’s Artsbeat blog covered the worldwide midnight madness
  • Vulture tried bribery and failed, then went to Union Square
  • HuffPo is all Harry Potter, all the time.
  • Waterstone’s reports 250,000 copies sold this weekend across the UK [BBC]
  • And three million copies total sold in the UK. [Telegraph]
  • It was, indeed, the “richest going away party in history.” [AP]
  • Even though none of them were right completely, it’s still fun to read how kids envisioned the end of Potter. [Guardian Review]
  • Pay $250, review the book sans spoilers. What’s the fun of that? [PW]
  • As for spoilers, critics and professors agree that they are hard to keep a lid on. [St. Louis Dispatch]
  • So why are the books so successful? Globalization, argues Will Hutton. [Observer]
  • HP-1: The Queue Begins in Earnest

    The Bookseller already has one of their reporters stationed outside Waterstone’s in Piccadily, where people have been waiting outside the store since Wednesday. Yes, Wednesday. Today alone, hundreds of Harry Potter fans have been braving torrential rain to queue outside bookstores in a bid to be first to get their hands on a copy of the latest book. The branch received its first delivery of the book at around 10.45am, to cheers from costumed fans.

    Practically everyone who turned up was in fancy dress. Most were clad in wizards’ capes, with some choosing the Hogwarts school uniform. One man carried a sign reading “My girlfriend made me come here”, which makes me wonder if it’s the same guy who was completely confused by instructions about the title of HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX when I hung around the queue outside a different Waterstone’s four years ago.

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