The written word is possibly the most powerful tool known to mankind. The application of ink to paper evokes a strength that deems the written word has some sort of authority, or at least means something...to someone.
I'd like to think that's the way Waterstones Booksellers sees it. Literature and texts (for they are two different things), have a purpose and whether it is to amuse, inform, or educate, the words on the page matter. Waterstones has managed to grasp this very idea, and let is pour into other avenues, which is what makes the book store so popular.
In terms of stock, new and 'old', Waterstones sell everything you might want from an 'everyday' book store. It's not bespoke, but they do sell what's new, what's popular, and what's required, including the following:
Informative and Instructional
Biographies Educational Cookery books Health and Diet Travel books Vintage novels.
I've been to many libraries, and various other book stores, but it's Waterstones that I return to because although they stock up to date texts, they also have a small back catalogue of previous editions, which have features that are omitted form newer versions. The back catalogue was extremely handy during my time at university, when I was searching for elusive copies of a Dickens.
It's not just the books with their various covers, that draws me in however. It's the atmosphere that envelops you as you walk into the shop. It's as though someone doffs their hat in acknowledgement that you've come to learn.
There are two Waterstones in the city centre, and only a 10 minute walk from each other, but it's the 'old' Waterstones that always takes my breath away. The building itself is vast, with high ceilings and 18th century architecture. Design aside, the air itself is thick with a curios desire. Although the interior is relatively modern (a staircase, carpets, a till), it seems there are still remnants of yesteryear that linger in the air, giving Waterstones a charming quality. You feel as though you're in an 18th century book store that is owned by a dusty looking fellow. If only.
Waterstones also has a number of events on at any one time where novelists will be visiting the store for either book signings, or will be reading some of their new stories to yummy mummies and children.
Aside from the books, Waterstones sells the cute and the kitsch: pencil cases, diaries, journals, cards for occasions by Paperchase branded stationery like Cath Kidston too. Many a time have I fondled the leather bound journals that beg to be stroked.
While everything goes digital Waterstones is holding on to the ever-important texts, and keeping their noses in books. After all, what can replace the feel of a book between your fingers as your eyes swim across the page, and you hold your breath as the narrative reaches a climatic high?
That's a grand looking Waterstones. Waterstones is a great 'everyday' book shop, I agree. While it may not have the charm of specialist stores, it has everything you need, and up to date on all the latest books and best sellers. At the moment they have some books at buy one get one half price.