For the past four years, UK bookstore chain Waterstones has been opening up shops without disclosing that the shops were under the chain. For example, Waterstones, the Barnes & Noble of the UK, opened up a store in Southwold, naming it Southwold Books. There was no indication that the store was owned by Waterstones except for the small, handwritten sign in the window, “Southwold Books is the trading name of Waterstones Booksellers Ltd.”
Independent bookstores like Stockbridge’s Golden Hare Books have been directly impacted by the chain’s expansion. The owners accused the company of breaking the pledge they made to not compete with independent bookstores. The store took to Twitter to express the importance of independent bookstores and the support of their patrons.
We have built our independent business. We do it for the love of books and people. We love being part of our community, Stockbridge, and want to be there for many years to come. Only you can help us do this. If you do, Waterstones cannot hurt us. Please choose to shop indie.
— Golden Hare Books (@GoldenHareBooks) May 14, 2018
After the accusation, Waterstones decided against opening up another store in Stockbridge. Waterstones CEO James Daunt wrote in a statement “Independent book shops have their place. It’s big chains like Waterstones who need to be responsible.”
Following the overruling of opening another Waterstones in Stockbridge, readers took to Twitter to rejoice and celebrate their favorite independent bookstore.
— Edinburgh Bookshop (@EdinBookshop) May 16, 2018
Now there’s a thing of beauty. Not me. The shop behind me ~ @GoldenHareBooks in St Stephen Street, #Stockbridge #StockbridgeEdinburgh ~ where I get my #JohnGardner #JamesBond novels. Anyway, the whole point of this tweet is to say ~ #SupportYourLocalBookshop pic.twitter.com/K3oQZ0bXR5
— Nick Jury (@TheRealNickJury) May 15, 2018
Golden Hare was empathetic, despite the near death of their shop.
“We messed up.”
— Golden Hare Books (@GoldenHareBooks) May 16, 2018
Let this be a lesson to everyone that independent bookstores are not to be messed with.
Featured Image Via Slate Magazine.