Thursday, June 28, 2007

Book Buying

Yesterday I had some time to myself in London and went to my favourite (high street) bookshop, Hatchards in Piccadilly. I first went there in 1970 and it's changed very little or so it seems. You have that feeling of stepping back into a more genteel world where book selling was not an industry but a service that they provided to the clientele - they were after all founded in the 18th Century.

Before that I was in Watersone's flag ship store which is 100 yards along Piccadilly from Hatchards. It is in the old Simpson's store and is five huge floors of books. Watersone's owns Hatchards, which to me says something about the strange business of high street major retailers. Can both shops really be making money? In Waterstone’s there are numerous posters urging people to shop online at - it's a strange old world.

At Hatchards I bought the latest issue of the very excellent Slightly Foxed, the quarterly literary magazine. It is available on subscription, which I've so far avoided as I like the idea of popping in Hatchards for it.


Heather Yaxley said...

I go into that Waterstone's everytime I visit the CIPR as it is round the corner. I have yet to buy a book there as it is the most uninspiring place. It seems to cater for the spontaneous purchase of whatever they pile up at the front and indifference elsewhere. Little inspiration and no engagement as a "destination" or "experience" store.

Even if I've gone in thinking I'll buy a certain book, I rarely find it easily and the staff seem miserable.

Richard Havers said...

My point excatly Heather. Try Hatchards next time it's 2 minutes along Piccadilly. You can pop into Fortnum & Mason's for some tea as well!