James Daunt is swimming against the tide - which is kinda cool.
Here's Waterstones doing this thing with Amazon, and here's Daunt saying he wants to introduce click and collect - buy online, collect from your local shop. It has some positive aspects - you don't have to worry about being in, you can pick up your stuff in your own time. I'm sensitive to the advantages of this because I've just discovered that Amazon's delivery team tried to deliver something nine days ago, didn't leave a card, and haven't contacted me. I thought the delivery was just taking some time to despatch. Oh, well.
But the interesting thing is that this is to some extent a challenge to Amazon's perspective on what is convenient and enjoyable. We've become so used to assuming that to-the-door is the best possible option that we barely question it any more, but actually it isn't always. Hive did this first, of course, but a) they feel more Amazon-ish in the first instance and b) it doesn't matter who does something first, what matters is who's the first person to make anyone care about it on a big scale. Maybe that will be Waterstones.
If Waterstones bookshops can become book community hubs, Daunt will have pulled off something rather smart: he'll have achieved his goal of making flesh and blood shops more appealing than online bookselling again. Which would be impressive. Now if he can just deal with the pricing issue and with Martyn Daniels' point here on Futurebook that Amazon will be quietly logging and cataloguing his cusomters and he won't...
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