Waterstones pulling out of Watford, company confirms

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

Watford’s only remaining book shop is to close before Christmas, it has been confirmed today.

Waterstones in The Harlequin will close its doors for the final time on Christmas Eve.

The news comes almost three years to the day since Borders announced it was closing.

A Waterstones spokesman confirmed the closure citing "commercial reasons" but declined to comment further.

Watford’s proud association with the printing industry dates back to 1832 when John Peacock set up his press in the town and it is believed that at one time, up to 70 per cent of the town’s population worked in the industry.

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5:44pm Mon 3 Dec 12

TRT says...

What about WH Smiths?!
OK, they're not exclusively books, but they will be the largest book seller left in the town. And by that I mean carry the largest range.
What about WH Smiths?! OK, they're not exclusively books, but they will be the largest book seller left in the town. And by that I mean carry the largest range. TRT
  • Score: 0

6:10pm Mon 3 Dec 12

jasonwatford says...

Another retailer that didnt move with the times...ie kindle and amazon....
Another retailer that didnt move with the times...ie kindle and amazon.... jasonwatford
  • Score: 0

6:20pm Mon 3 Dec 12

The Rover says...

Yet another bookstore closes due to being unable to compete with Amazon. About time Amazon paid their Corporation Tax so that they no longer have such a big advantage over traditional high street stores.
Yet another bookstore closes due to being unable to compete with Amazon. About time Amazon paid their Corporation Tax so that they no longer have such a big advantage over traditional high street stores. The Rover
  • Score: 0

6:38pm Mon 3 Dec 12

theturpster says...

It's not about moving with the times, its about a generation who never picked up a book until Fifty Shades Of Grey came on the scene.

Bookshops will still have a place in the High Street. Some people shun the "sheeple" "lazy" digital market, because they appricate the work that goes into the publishing, like the cover artwork etc. I remember the first books I was given and bought, who will remember a faceless download?

I still purchase vinyl singles and albums (also gradually replacing all my CD's with the vinyl equivalent) because my vinyl collection sounds better (warm analogue) also looks more impressive than staring at a hard drive.

If moving with the times means copying the person next door without giving it too much thought, then it can stick itself where the sun don't shine.

I hope the employees find alternative employment, as soon as possible.

BTW - I'm not a luddite, my career is IT support, but I try my damnedest not to allow too much tech to enter my personal life. I'm also not duped into owning cool hipster stuff because "everyone does it". Life is becoming cold and souless, just think about it.
It's not about moving with the times, its about a generation who never picked up a book until Fifty Shades Of Grey came on the scene. Bookshops will still have a place in the High Street. Some people shun the "sheeple" "lazy" digital market, because they appricate the work that goes into the publishing, like the cover artwork etc. I remember the first books I was given and bought, who will remember a faceless download? I still purchase vinyl singles and albums (also gradually replacing all my CD's with the vinyl equivalent) because my vinyl collection sounds better (warm analogue) also looks more impressive than staring at a hard drive. If moving with the times means copying the person next door without giving it too much thought, then it can stick itself where the sun don't shine. I hope the employees find alternative employment, as soon as possible. BTW - I'm not a luddite, my career is IT support, but I try my damnedest not to allow too much tech to enter my personal life. I'm also not duped into owning cool hipster stuff because "everyone does it". Life is becoming cold and souless, just think about it. theturpster
  • Score: 0

8:31pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Tara1978 says...

This story makes me sad yet although i read regularly i actually can't remember last time I shopped in Waterstones. I tend to pick books up as I go round the supermarket. I suspect others do too, so it's not simply the online competition.
This story makes me sad yet although i read regularly i actually can't remember last time I shopped in Waterstones. I tend to pick books up as I go round the supermarket. I suspect others do too, so it's not simply the online competition. Tara1978
  • Score: 0

8:41pm Mon 3 Dec 12

sarahjc says...

I think it is about moving with the times, they do have the cover on some ebooks, but to me the book is never about the cover, its really how much I enjoyed the book.

I still remember the 1st song I downloaded and cd I bought. I remember the books I had as a child except these days I can take 12 books on holiday with me than just 3 or 4.

And no I've never read 50 shades.
I think it is about moving with the times, they do have the cover on some ebooks, but to me the book is never about the cover, its really how much I enjoyed the book. I still remember the 1st song I downloaded and cd I bought. I remember the books I had as a child except these days I can take 12 books on holiday with me than just 3 or 4. And no I've never read 50 shades. sarahjc
  • Score: 0

9:28pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Andrew1963 says...

I must admit i never use Waterstones in Watford - the advantage of working in Bloomsbury is the accesibility of good book shops. Very sad though to think only very large cities can support a specialist bookshop. Until its demise i much peferred Borders and Waterstones was not much better than WH Smiths whichi think is ok as a book dept. HMV will no doubt be next to go.
I must admit i never use Waterstones in Watford - the advantage of working in Bloomsbury is the accesibility of good book shops. Very sad though to think only very large cities can support a specialist bookshop. Until its demise i much peferred Borders and Waterstones was not much better than WH Smiths whichi think is ok as a book dept. HMV will no doubt be next to go. Andrew1963
  • Score: 0

10:29pm Mon 3 Dec 12

cameluk says...

Watford still has an association with the printing industry with Trinity Mirror next to Asda, one of the largest newspaper print sites in the country, its just unfortunate that the Watford Observer isn't printed there
Watford still has an association with the printing industry with Trinity Mirror next to Asda, one of the largest newspaper print sites in the country, its just unfortunate that the Watford Observer isn't printed there cameluk
  • Score: 0

10:43am Tue 4 Dec 12

S/O man says...

Also, don't forget Storehouse, that is a great bookshop.
Also, don't forget Storehouse, that is a great bookshop. S/O man
  • Score: 0

10:57am Tue 4 Dec 12

Oxhey-Moron says...

I refuse to believe that there is no room in Watford for a bookshop, so I put this down to bad management and a lack of inspiration from someone 'up top'.

Waterstones have in-store concessions of Costa, Starbucks and Paperchase. I fail to understand why they have not taken advantage of the fact that Watford does not have a Paperchase (the busiest part of Borders when it was open, except for Starbucks). The town now has only one Starbucks, in my opinion it isn't the best coffee chain, but that does not seem to make sense as there is always a huge queue outside of it, and no seats inside it!

Why would they not open a Starbucks concession on the lower floor; the high street entrance; and set up a Paperchase somewhere inside? This is sure to get more people through their doors!

Is it that Watford cannot support a book shop? I don't think so. It's the awful management of the current one, and a crippling lack of ideas of how to pull an old fashioned business into the modern day.
I refuse to believe that there is no room in Watford for a bookshop, so I put this down to bad management and a lack of inspiration from someone 'up top'. Waterstones have in-store concessions of Costa, Starbucks and Paperchase. I fail to understand why they have not taken advantage of the fact that Watford does not have a Paperchase (the busiest part of Borders when it was open, except for Starbucks). The town now has only one Starbucks, in my opinion it isn't the best coffee chain, but that does not seem to make sense as there is always a huge queue outside of it, and no seats inside it! Why would they not open a Starbucks concession on the lower floor; the high street entrance; and set up a Paperchase somewhere inside? This is sure to get more people through their doors! Is it that Watford cannot support a book shop? I don't think so. It's the awful management of the current one, and a crippling lack of ideas of how to pull an old fashioned business into the modern day. Oxhey-Moron
  • Score: 0

12:00pm Tue 4 Dec 12

theturpster says...

Maybe beacuse they are paying 100% of all due taxes?

I still won't "move with the times" - proud to be individual and not a clone.

http://cheezburger.c
om/6695548672

lol
Maybe beacuse they are paying 100% of all due taxes? I still won't "move with the times" - proud to be individual and not a clone. http://cheezburger.c om/6695548672 lol theturpster
  • Score: 0

1:48pm Tue 4 Dec 12

LSC says...

Sad news. I'm surprised my house isn't slowly sinking with the weight of book-cases filled to overflowing. I can't bear to throw any away, either.
I'm as up to date as most people, but as theturpster says, some things, like vinyl records, cannot be bettered.
Give me a comfy chair and a good real book any day.
Sad news. I'm surprised my house isn't slowly sinking with the weight of book-cases filled to overflowing. I can't bear to throw any away, either. I'm as up to date as most people, but as theturpster says, some things, like vinyl records, cannot be bettered. Give me a comfy chair and a good real book any day. LSC
  • Score: 0

2:45pm Tue 4 Dec 12

theturpster says...

Glad we agree on one thing LSC :-)

I went home to lunch and caught the news, apparently the very last Dandy comic has been printed and gone on sale today, they are moving it to an interactive website to "keep up with the times".

They interviewed a few children and one said thay he was unhappy because "too much use of computers makes the brain go fuzzy".

Pity we seldom listen to childrens views!

I have noticed a change in human behaviour since technology was launched en-masse on the public. People in general have became more intolerant, negative and nothing seems quick enough and there is a "faster,faster must consume more" attitude which irks me no end.

I feel that as a society, we have stopped thinking and questioning and put it down to "convienience", believing there is no other way than to follow the sheep- it's can only be put down to laziness because we are constantly being told we live "hectic" lives. A lot can be laid squarely at the feet of the media with subliminal messaging and rapid fire television programming due to shortened attention spans.

I think we need to wake up,we need to stop our streets from becoming like a scene from 28 days later....

Just saying :)
Glad we agree on one thing LSC :-) I went home to lunch and caught the news, apparently the very last Dandy comic has been printed and gone on sale today, they are moving it to an interactive website to "keep up with the times". They interviewed a few children and one said thay he was unhappy because "too much use of computers makes the brain go fuzzy". Pity we seldom listen to childrens views! I have noticed a change in human behaviour since technology was launched en-masse on the public. People in general have became more intolerant, negative and nothing seems quick enough and there is a "faster,faster must consume more" attitude which irks me no end. I feel that as a society, we have stopped thinking and questioning and put it down to "convienience", believing there is no other way than to follow the sheep- it's can only be put down to laziness because we are constantly being told we live "hectic" lives. A lot can be laid squarely at the feet of the media with subliminal messaging and rapid fire television programming due to shortened attention spans. I think we need to wake up,we need to stop our streets from becoming like a scene from 28 days later.... Just saying :) theturpster
  • Score: 0

3:50pm Tue 4 Dec 12

Languagebooks says...

The Storehouse Christian Bookshop - one of our Booksellers Association's colleagues - surely is the last remaining bookshop in Watford?
The Storehouse Christian Bookshop - one of our Booksellers Association's colleagues - surely is the last remaining bookshop in Watford? Languagebooks
  • Score: 0

6:00pm Tue 4 Dec 12

londomollari says...

It is about being a bookshop, selling books,not about selling Coffee. Even so, if coffee means a bookshop continuing to trade, then so be it. But not Starbucks, please. Overpriced, poor quality coffee in paper cups by a company that pays no tax? No thanks
It is about being a bookshop, selling books,not about selling Coffee. Even so, if coffee means a bookshop continuing to trade, then so be it. But not Starbucks, please. Overpriced, poor quality coffee in paper cups by a company that pays no tax? No thanks londomollari
  • Score: 0

8:28pm Tue 4 Dec 12

LuthersLoveChild says...

Its sad to see any retailer cease trading. Having said that, I cannot say i am surprised. i'm an avid reader of books (the paper variety) and pop into the harlequin every week or two. Waterstones is always dead. its a big store in an expensive location (gets footfall from the shopping centre and the highstreet).

The problem is, the books are so expensive compared to online or ASDA that there is little merit buying a book there unless it is an impulse or a panic buy gift.

The bookshop i miss most was very close by, next to maplin. it shut about 5 years ago and i think was called books books books. big variety, great prices, always busy, enthusiastic staff and unusual titles.
Its sad to see any retailer cease trading. Having said that, I cannot say i am surprised. i'm an avid reader of books (the paper variety) and pop into the harlequin every week or two. Waterstones is always dead. its a big store in an expensive location (gets footfall from the shopping centre and the highstreet). The problem is, the books are so expensive compared to online or ASDA that there is little merit buying a book there unless it is an impulse or a panic buy gift. The bookshop i miss most was very close by, next to maplin. it shut about 5 years ago and i think was called books books books. big variety, great prices, always busy, enthusiastic staff and unusual titles. LuthersLoveChild
  • Score: 0

10:53pm Tue 4 Dec 12

Andrew1963 says...

Books,Books,Books was great, sold excess stock from main chains, but sold for the new Metro development. Waterstones is not a good shoppartly because it feels like 3 shops- the High Street part which is the childrens dept,the isolated upstairs and the Harlequin facing part with adult fiction. Great bookshops are for regular browsing that leads to purchasing - but onceyou strip away the mass market sales once supermarkets and others muscle in you can't make a book shop pay.there was a fab bookshop at the far end of market street,but that went 20 years ago.
Books,Books,Books was great, sold excess stock from main chains, but sold for the new Metro development. Waterstones is not a good shoppartly because it feels like 3 shops- the High Street part which is the childrens dept,the isolated upstairs and the Harlequin facing part with adult fiction. Great bookshops are for regular browsing that leads to purchasing - but onceyou strip away the mass market sales once supermarkets and others muscle in you can't make a book shop pay.there was a fab bookshop at the far end of market street,but that went 20 years ago. Andrew1963
  • Score: 0

11:24pm Tue 4 Dec 12

TRT says...

Dillons?
Dillons? TRT
  • Score: 0

1:25am Wed 5 Dec 12

Oxhey-Moron says...

londomollari wrote:
It is about being a bookshop, selling books,not about selling Coffee. Even so, if coffee means a bookshop continuing to trade, then so be it. But not Starbucks, please. Overpriced, poor quality coffee in paper cups by a company that pays no tax? No thanks
I do agree with you there, I am definitely not a fan of Starbucks. I much prefer independent coffee shops, I just don't see one of those drawing the crowds in though...
[quote][p][bold]londomollari[/bold] wrote: It is about being a bookshop, selling books,not about selling Coffee. Even so, if coffee means a bookshop continuing to trade, then so be it. But not Starbucks, please. Overpriced, poor quality coffee in paper cups by a company that pays no tax? No thanks[/p][/quote]I do agree with you there, I am definitely not a fan of Starbucks. I much prefer independent coffee shops, I just don't see one of those drawing the crowds in though... Oxhey-Moron
  • Score: 0

9:09am Wed 5 Dec 12

sooper says...

Surely in this climate its all about saving money , and if I can purchase a book 'online' for a cheaper price than I would pay by driving ( fuel-carbon footprint, car park fees ) to Watford then its a No brainer
Surely in this climate its all about saving money , and if I can purchase a book 'online' for a cheaper price than I would pay by driving ( fuel-carbon footprint, car park fees ) to Watford then its a No brainer sooper
  • Score: 0

9:40am Wed 5 Dec 12

TRT says...

sooper wrote:
Surely in this climate its all about saving money , and if I can purchase a book 'online' for a cheaper price than I would pay by driving ( fuel-carbon footprint, car park fees ) to Watford then its a No brainer
And preserving local jobs, securing tax revenue...
[quote][p][bold]sooper[/bold] wrote: Surely in this climate its all about saving money , and if I can purchase a book 'online' for a cheaper price than I would pay by driving ( fuel-carbon footprint, car park fees ) to Watford then its a No brainer[/p][/quote]And preserving local jobs, securing tax revenue... TRT
  • Score: 0

4:37pm Wed 5 Dec 12

WatfordGal says...

TRT wrote:
What about WH Smiths?!
OK, they're not exclusively books, but they will be the largest book seller left in the town. And by that I mean carry the largest range.
Before you condemn anyone go down and take a look at that leg of the Harlequin area.
See how many vacant units there are, keep an eye on the units that are vacant and those that will be vacant in that section in the near future and see what they become.
[quote][p][bold]TRT[/bold] wrote: What about WH Smiths?! OK, they're not exclusively books, but they will be the largest book seller left in the town. And by that I mean carry the largest range.[/p][/quote]Before you condemn anyone go down and take a look at that leg of the Harlequin area. See how many vacant units there are, keep an eye on the units that are vacant and those that will be vacant in that section in the near future and see what they become. WatfordGal
  • Score: 0

4:46pm Wed 5 Dec 12

TRT says...

I wasn't condemning anyone...
I wasn't condemning anyone... TRT
  • Score: 0

7:11pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Sara says...

That's really sad news. The staff in Waterstones are brilliant and I try to shop there as often as possible when I need to buy books. i will have to travel further afield in future.
That's really sad news. The staff in Waterstones are brilliant and I try to shop there as often as possible when I need to buy books. i will have to travel further afield in future. Sara
  • Score: 0

11:31am Wed 26 Dec 12

Razor Sharp says...

Waterstones lacked strategic vision and effective leadership. They have themselves to blame. The business model worked well in the '80s and 90's.

We live in a society where electronic media is usurping the printing presses and physical space is at a premium. The loss of Waterstones is regrettable - another icon lost from Watford.

Amazon deserves the position it occupies. It innovated, diversified and made hefty losses for several years before breaking even and turning a profit. The second hand books it supplies are almost like new and sold for pennies (plus postage) via its 'marketplace'. The quality of service is second to none and delivery times are acceptable.

Nothing beats nostalgia. Vinyl records have excellent base response and the intermittent crackle evokes memories of childhood and nightclubbing back in the day. A good pen and fountain pen are now probably a luxury, a means of relaxing, in place of touch screens and digital styluses. Perhaps physical print media will be displaced in a similar way if it isn't already. Digital paper is almost a commercial reality.

Progress comes at a price. I will miss Waterstones, if only from the perspective of a comfort blanket, i.e. it was there if I needed it, but I haven't ventured inside for at least 10 years, often purchasing books from its Central London, Gower Street site, where choice is more varied and there is a healthy bustle of customers from around the world. It's an experience in itself.

R.I.P. to the Waterstones you see, it's days are over, baby it's over, it's time for closure. (Based on Rita Ora).
Waterstones lacked strategic vision and effective leadership. They have themselves to blame. The business model worked well in the '80s and 90's. We live in a society where electronic media is usurping the printing presses and physical space is at a premium. The loss of Waterstones is regrettable - another icon lost from Watford. Amazon deserves the position it occupies. It innovated, diversified and made hefty losses for several years before breaking even and turning a profit. The second hand books it supplies are almost like new and sold for pennies (plus postage) via its 'marketplace'. The quality of service is second to none and delivery times are acceptable. Nothing beats nostalgia. Vinyl records have excellent base response and the intermittent crackle evokes memories of childhood and nightclubbing back in the day. A good pen and fountain pen are now probably a luxury, a means of relaxing, in place of touch screens and digital styluses. Perhaps physical print media will be displaced in a similar way if it isn't already. Digital paper is almost a commercial reality. Progress comes at a price. I will miss Waterstones, if only from the perspective of a comfort blanket, i.e. it was there if I needed it, but I haven't ventured inside for at least 10 years, often purchasing books from its Central London, Gower Street site, where choice is more varied and there is a healthy bustle of customers from around the world. It's an experience in itself. R.I.P. to the Waterstones you see, it's days are over, baby it's over, it's time for closure. (Based on Rita Ora). Razor Sharp
  • Score: 0

5:07pm Wed 26 Dec 12

Mohandas says...

I really enjoyed many of the informed comments on this issue after trying to engage reasonably on other issues. Razor and Theturpster although coming from different angles at least were respectful. There is hope for the thinking man in 2013 as the internet does allow for debate in this frenetic world. Did the abolition of Resale Price Maintenance in1964 spell trouble for the small booksellers and led to even wider repercussions for 'niche hard back publications' as the multilples dumped cheap paperbacks with lower profit margins on the market?
I really enjoyed many of the informed comments on this issue after trying to engage reasonably on other issues. Razor and Theturpster although coming from different angles at least were respectful. There is hope for the thinking man in 2013 as the internet does allow for debate in this frenetic world. Did the abolition of Resale Price Maintenance in1964 spell trouble for the small booksellers and led to even wider repercussions for 'niche hard back publications' as the multilples dumped cheap paperbacks with lower profit margins on the market? Mohandas
  • Score: 0

12:52am Thu 27 Dec 12

Mohandas says...

I really enjoyed many of the informed comments on this issue after trying to engage reasonably on other issues. Razor and Theturpster although coming from different angles at least were respectful. There is hope for the thinking man in 2013 as the internet does allow for debate in this frenetic world. Did the abolition of Resale Price Maintenance in1964 spell trouble for the small booksellers and led to even wider repercussions for 'niche hard back publications' as the multilples dumped cheap paperbacks with lower profit margins on the market?
I really enjoyed many of the informed comments on this issue after trying to engage reasonably on other issues. Razor and Theturpster although coming from different angles at least were respectful. There is hope for the thinking man in 2013 as the internet does allow for debate in this frenetic world. Did the abolition of Resale Price Maintenance in1964 spell trouble for the small booksellers and led to even wider repercussions for 'niche hard back publications' as the multilples dumped cheap paperbacks with lower profit margins on the market? Mohandas
  • Score: 0

8:32am Thu 27 Dec 12

ED12 says...

The real problem is the cost of rents at the Harlequin. I note French connection has also closed so perhaps the owners should do what other landlords are doing which is reducing rents.

With the Harlequin owners also taking over Charter place I am concerned that we will end up with a very limited range of shops.
The real problem is the cost of rents at the Harlequin. I note French connection has also closed so perhaps the owners should do what other landlords are doing which is reducing rents. With the Harlequin owners also taking over Charter place I am concerned that we will end up with a very limited range of shops. ED12
  • Score: 0

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