Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published November 25th 2014
Next to Platform 9 3/4
Is that a Waterstones I see at Kings Cross St Pancras International Railway? No, but it's close. Watermark Books launched in Australia in 2007, before opening its first shop in the UK in 2012. With seven thousand books and gifts for sale, it not only shares a similar name to the big chain, Waterstones, but is also similar in style. Perhaps that is because it is managed by the former Islington Waterstones manager, Farah Taylor. Of course all book shops are going to share common features, but I think each one has there own personality.
The personality of Watermark is defined by its location: a railway station. The aim of Watermark Books is to open up to thirty-five stores at airports and railways stations across the UK. The layout responds to this, as the entrance leads the way to a shelf of best sellers you can quickly pick up, and other things to occupy your time with while travelling on the train.
If you turn to the right, you'll walk through a little archway with wall maps of the London Underground and Overground Railway. Admittedly it is not much use if you are trying to find your way when already out, but stick it up on your wall at home, and you can start memorising the lines.
At the back of the shop, you can find a table full of travel games, perfect for keeping you and the kids entertained on a long journey. These include Guess Who?, Monopoly, UNO, and various word games.
King's Cross is not just anyway railways station, it is the station where Harry Potter and all his wizarding classmates catch the Hogwarts Express to get to school. Watermarks is right next door to the Platform 9 ¾ portal, and so, has a number of Harry Potter related items. As well as highlighting the book series in several places around the store, they also sell wands, Top Trumps, keyrings, and other memorabilia. Unfortunately when the Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 ¾ opened last year, they kind of stole Watermark's thunder.
They still have plenty of of other franchises to make use of though, and unsurprisingly, most of their dedication goes towards Doctor Who. On the left hand side of the entrance, you'll find novelisations, annuals, games, etc.
Given less priority, but just as quirky - if not more - is a series of Shakespearean Star Wars plays, such as The Empire Striketh Back. Written in the same format as Shakespeare's plays, it is a hilarious parody of the two contrasting genres.
Young children can enjoy their favourite characters, such as Peter Rabbit, Elmer the Elephant, The Moomins, Paddington Bear, and The Hungry Caterpillar by having a soft toy companion to join them as they read. And if you fancy reading in a more unique manor, why not get a Moomins poster that tells one of the stories on one large sheet?
My favourite sections are around the back and at the counter, which featured humorous non-fiction that self-mocks traditional habits and cliches that we are all familiar with. I would probably never buy one of these books, but I love to just skim through a few of the pages at the shop for a laugh. They are the the perfect type of book to reason the train because you can pick them up and put them down at any point without losing your place, or having to remind yourself where you left off.