In England, where bookstore chain Waterstone’s was bought out by WH Smith, which was then bought out by music store giant HMV, one of the most powerful men in English publishing is now the head buyer of Waterstone’s, the goateed, thirty-something ex-record store clerk, Scott Pack. Tim Adam, book critic at The Observer, writes on the state of Waterstone’s — and of British publishing — under the Pack regime.
Once a heterogeneous chain with displays and promotions reflecting the individual tastes of store managers, Waterstone’s now sells front table display space for £30,000 ($63,000 CAD) per title, and demands discounts of 65 to 70% on all titles promoted during the holiday season. “The system is a version of payola,” writes Adam.
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