I was in Waterstone’s Piccadilly for a meeting recently and was admiring all the festive bookselling they are doing in the run-up to Christmas. The tables piled high with beautiful books, each department putting thought and effort into making the public’s experience enjoyable. It was deeply satisfying walking around the shop picking out different clients’ books, seeing where they had been positioned and making sure they were included in the appropriate, most tempting, line-ups. The children’s department looked magical and I made a mental note to tie Waterstone’s into a trip to see the Fortnum & Mason windows with any small people I happen to have charge of over the coming month. I could happily have plopped down and spent a heavenly afternoon (and my entire christmas present budget) choosing books for friends and family.
Much as I enjoyed it, I was left with a bit of lingering sadness. It used to be that the high streets were full of bookshops all flaunting their wares at this time of year. Now it has to actually entail a ‘trip’. And that is a great shame.