Whatever one’s views about the way Waterstones handled the situation when feelings amongst its staff and the public at large were running high last weekend, most fair-minded people will want to see both independent booksellers AND a national bookchain surviving this current crisis.
I fully understand why people who have an independent bookshop in their local town, or in one they visit regularly, would wish to support it.
What I don’t understand is why people would rather order books via Hive or by post from a distant bookshop rather than shop in their local Waterstones. Fortunately I think this group of people is quite small, though likely to have had its numbers increased (for a short time) by the emotions that were stoked up online a short while ago.
ACHUKA began its existence in 1997 affiliated to a UK company called Bookpages. When Bookpages was subsumed by Amazon we became, for many years, an Amazon affiliate, something I felt increasingly uncomfortable about.
For several years the Waterstones online presence wasn’t fit for purpose, so we retained Amazon links alongside the Waterstones links. For quite a while now we have only carried Waterstones links. The book chain’s website has improved beyond all measure and the mobile app is really excellent.
In the weeks and, in all likelihood, months in which high street shops remain shut I would encourage all, except those who have a special loyalty to a local independent, to carry on buying books via the Waterstones app and the Waterstones website – using ACHUKA’s Book of the Day recommendations and general listing pages to guide them to the best in current children’s and YA offerings.