James Daunt on the Turnaround at Waterstones

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By Nigel Beale. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

James Daunt is Managing Director of the Waterstones chain of bookstores in England. Has been since 2011.

We met at the Piccadilly store in London to talk about, among other things, J.P. Morgan, New York, silver spoons and begging bowls, genuine passion, store energy, author event programs, bookshops as social places, a core of regular customers, identifying up-and-coming writers, booksellers who read, booksellers who treat publishers with suspicion, Waterstones not selling shelf-space, caring enthusiasm, shocking and fabulous bookshops, plastic flowers, bookseller personality, how to display books, book-selling being visual, recommending books (never more than three), Brexit, Amazon, screwing with algorithms, slippery squid, freedom to price, the perceived value of books, pre-orders, employee uniforms, changing chains, the purpose of chain bookshops, Indigo Books, introverted booksellers, poor writers, curating books, raising bookseller staff salaries, making Waterstones more like Daunt Books, returns as a measure of bad buying, dropping the apostrophe in Waterstones, demystifying Kindle, holding entertaining events, and being a fun place in the community.

391 episodes