Waterstone’s is the UK’s second biggest bricks and mortar bookseller (after the ubiquitous WH Smith’s) and its stores are great places to shelter from the rain and thumb through a title or two. I would hate to see them disappear from the high street just because of the relentless march of the on-line retailer. ‘If you can’t beat them, join them,’ may be a well-worn adage but it made perfect commercial sense for Waterstone’s to launch its own on-line offer a few years ago.
Much has been said about the phenomenal growth of Amazon and its sharp practices, not to mention its questionable (but quite legal) tax avoidance shenanigans. But you can’t fault their business acumen. If you view an out of stock item, you get this message:
Temporarily out of stock, order now and we’ll deliver when available
Contrast this with the message from Waterstone’s:
Not in our warehouse. We can order it, but could take up to 3 weeks
It’s like they can’t be arsed. Hopeless really.