Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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James Daunt: Waterstones ‘close to breaking even’

In the UK, Waterstones managing director James Daunt has revealed in an interview with financial website This Is Money that the bookselling chain is ‘now close to breaking even’. The chain recorded losses of £23 million (A$43 million) and £37 million (A$69 million) in the past two years. Among the reasons given for the turnaround are: replacing 200 managers; closing some stores and refurbishing others with ‘new carpets and décor, widely-spaced shelving, sofa and armchair reading areas’ and ‘Café W coffee shops’; updating computer systems and online operations; and ending ‘deals with publishers who decided the authors and how their books were displayed’, which Daunt said cost the bookseller £27 million (A$50 million) annually. Daunt also observed that sales of Kindles in Waterstones stores were a negligible proportion of the business.

 

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