Goodbye Watford Waterstones…

I have just learned via a retweet on Twitter that my local Waterstones in Watford, Hertfordshire has closed. It had been there for so long I don’t remember it opening, and I visited it for years.

Three floors – yes, THREE – of books. A lower ground floor for children’s, fiction on the ground floor, and cookery, history etc upstairs. The staff were always knowledgeable and helpful, as well as friendly. It was a big enough store to wonder around for a while, with lots of different genre sections and comfy seats. Fiction was huge, as was history and sci fi & fantasy. They also sold Moleskines and lovely cards.

There used to be a big Borders store in Watford as well. I worked there for a few months in 2007, and while it wasn’t the most thrilling job I loved being around books and readers all day. It closed in 2009 or 2010 and has been empty ever since. It’s a big store (with a mezzanine floor that used to house a Starbucks and the staff room) and now it is a big, miserable reminder of the recession and the vulnerability of book shops.

Now my beloved Waterstones store will play the same role. A big store, once full of books, now dark and empty. I’m all for independent book shops, but in a town like Watford only chains would have a chance. Now we only have W. H. Smith’s, and I have never bought a book there. It’s all Katie Price, Richard & Judy and 50 Shades of Grey. Ugh.

I weep for humanity. And I will not be able to walk past my empty Waterstones without turning away.

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2 thoughts on “Goodbye Watford Waterstones…”

  1. That is so sad, not just one but two large chains disappearing. It is perhaps a sign of changing trends, as we realise we too are reaching an age of yearning for things that have or are becoming old-fashioned and who would have ever thought that bookshops would fit in that category. Thirty years ago it was the haberdashery as cheap clothing imports made making one’s own clothes uneconomical, I just hope that like then, at least people still wear clothes 🙂 and so too are people continuing to read books, there are just many more channels for purchasing them. The loss of community interaction through online purchasing will eventually become enough of an issue for something to develop to replace it, but I am afraid we will experience some empty years before then where our streets and communities seem a little devoid of humanity.

    Enjoy Christmas with a good book all the same, for sure we must just keep reading! 🙂

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