BookMachine has a fresh coat of paint for 2018 and we’d love your feedback! Let us know what you think.

Tag: waterstones

Self-employed in publishing

This month in publishing, booksellers have taken the spotlight, with Waterstones announcing their first year of profit since the 2008 financial crash. In fact, Bookstore sales rose 2.5% in 2016 and Amazon is determined to get in on the action, with plans to open 10 books and mortar stores across the US by the end of 2017, in a move to “solve digital retail’s biggest design flaw.” They are also rumoured to be scouting for shops in London. However, the footing is not even: Amazon has been given tax cuts while high street stores suffer – though, as the FT points out, UK tax law isn’t actually Amazon’s fault.

February has also marked the first full month of Trump’s presidency. Early February saw Trump pass an executive order banning entry to the US for citizens of seven majority-Muslim nations. Publishing professionals across the board have stood up against the ban, notably Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman. In response, Publishers’ Weekly followed the lead of Penguin Random House US and Hachette Book Group US by offering to pay half its employees’ membership fees to PEN America.

Members of the reading public have also registered their unhappiness, voting with their reading habits by sending dystopian fiction to the top of the bestseller charts, as well as organizing to flood the White House with books for Valentine’s Day.

On a lighter note, Trump’s actions have also kicked off a feud between Harry Potter author JK Rowling and television presenter Piers Morgan. Already having had to defend Harry Potter books against threats of burning this month, Rowling scored some biblical hits against Morgan before London-based Big Green Bookshop took up the gauntlet by deciding to live-Tweet the entire first Harry Potter novel at Morgan. The process would have taken 32,567 Tweets, however at the time of writing, Morgan has blocked the Big Green Bookshop and thwarted their efforts.

This has been a month in which defense of free-speech and liberal values have been at the fore: “sensitivity readers” have been highlighted; anger has bloomed in light of 2017’s all-white Carnegie and Kate Greenaway longlists; and the Authors Guild in America has called for vigilance in these “not normal” times. Meanwhile, more complex debates have erupted over the sale of a Juno Dawson book to a 12-year-old at school, and arguments continue to rage over Milo Yiannopoulos’s upcoming book, both for and against.

“Publishing has a part to play in this fight,” said Chief Executive of Faber & Faber, Steven Page, accepting the Frankfurt book fair independent trade publisher of the year award. “We are about freedom of expression, making the public aware and [providing] education. These are things that matter very much now.”


This is a guest post by Rob Chilver. Rob is a Social Media assistant for Waterstones, working on a number of mediums from blogging to Twitter and Instagram. He also writes about books at and hosts a fortnightly books podcast. He can be found on Twitter and on Instagram: @robchilver

I wouldn’t have guessed when I began working as a Christmas temp at a small town Waterstones that I’d end up in Head Office with a view of the London skyline. Yet, from talking to customers on the shop floor to interacting with them on social media and blogs, the core concepts have remained the same. Here’s what I learnt along the way.

Continue reading

skills for publishing

This is a guest post from Tom Chalmers, Managing Director at IPR License.

Amazon is taking over the world, booksellers are going under, ebooks are leading to the demise of the physical book. This has long been the subtext of the modern publishing world but is this still the case? Maybe not.

Continue reading

Amazon bringing Kindle to US indies

Following on from last year’s unexpected partnership with Waterstones that saw Kindles sold in the chain’s brick and mortar stores, Amazon has now announced that it will make its e-readers available for sale in independent bookshops in the USA. Amazon Source offers two different packages for physical retailers: a ‘general retail program’ aimed at consumer electronics shops (i.e. markets more interested in hardware than software) that offers Kindle devices at a 9% discount from their suggested retail price and accessories at a 35% discount, and a ‘bookseller program’, which only offers a 6% discount on the price of hardware but keeps the 35% discount on accessories and adds 10% commission on every e-book bought by customers from Kindles bought at the bookseller’s shop.

Continue reading

Last week saw the launch of Bookish in the US – a new, and frankly bloody stunning book discovery/online retailer (or as I call them, a ‘social retailer’). They’ve got a brilliant pitch, a stunning site, and features the rest of us have been discussing for a while that we thought may never come to fruition. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. The golden egg, the holy grail, of online book discovery. An algorithm that recommends you books. Not ‘readers also bought’. Not ‘you might also like’. Something that says ‘what’s a book you have read and loved lately?’ and then picks you a bunch more based on what I can only assume is metadata more detailed than a fractal zoom on a mandelbrot set.

I hope you all brought spare underwear.

Continue reading

In news that has gone so far from the definition of ‘news’ that it has circled back round upon itself to become newsworthy again, today sees the publication of JK Rowling’s first post-Harry Potter novel, the adult-orientated The Casual Vacancy. I know, it caught me utterly unawares too. Take a minute to regain your composure and lift your jaw off the floor, why don’t you.

Little, Brown is the company currently looking at its logo on the spine of the book, then looking at the rest of the publishing world, then looking at the Harry Potter series’ sales figures, then looking back at the rest of the publishing world and pointing and laughing.

Continue reading

This week on BookMachine, we kicked things off with the The ABC of Waterstones: A Bookseller’s ‘Promised Land’ and 5 questions for Carolyn Jess Cooke, then looked at This week in literary prizes and the news that Today in tyrants: Hussein daughter seeks publisher for father’s memoirs. And if all that wasn’t enough, we had 5 questions for Rebecca Swift of The Literary Consultancy.

Elsewhere on the web it was a mighty busy week too, especially if writing’s your thing: here are 10 Ridiculously Simple Tips for Writing a Book, and Getting your first book published: Lessons learned! Meanwhile this post has Six Tough Truths About Self-Publishing (That The Advocates Never Seem To Talk About), while there’s the argument that Discoverability and Marketing Are Publishing Company Differentiators. Here’s How to fight back against bogus Amazon/Kindle reviews, and what about some Self-Publishing Statistics – Who are the Top Earners?

On the tech front, some are asking Can We Please Move Past Apple’s Silly, Faux-Real UIs?, is it a symptom of Nostalgia and Finitude in Digital Media?

For designers there’s The Future of Book Cover Design in the Digital Age discussed and Publishing Perspectives asks: Does Digital Publishing Really Encourage More Reading?

It seems that If You Want to Succeed in Business, Read More Novels, even though Over half of surveyed e-reader owners use devices to conceal ‘shameful’ reading habits. And for all that reading over the weekend, you might need 17 Cozy Reading Nooks Design Ideas.

Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2016 Shortlists Announced

Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2016 Shortlists Announced

The Waterstones Children’s book prize exists to reward and champion new and emerging talent in children’s books. Now in its twelfth year, it is widely regarded as one of the most important prizes in the world of children’s books. The full lists of shortlisted titles (in alphabetical order by author) for the 2016 Prize are:

Illustrated Books:

Have You Seen Elephant? by David Barrow (Gecko Press)

Cinderella’s Sister and the Big Bad Wolf by Lorraine Carey and Migy Blanco (Nosy Crow)

Hector and Hummingbird by Nicholas John Frith (Alison Green Books)

The Crow’s Tale by Naomi Howarth (Frances Lincoln)

The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield (Frances Lincoln)

Super Happy Magic Forest by Matty Long (Oxford University Press)

Younger Fiction:

Bird by Crystal Chan (Tamarind)

Darkmouth by Shane Hegarty (HarperCollins)

Witch Wars by Sibéal Pounder (Bloomsbury)

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands (Puffin)

My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons (Nosy Crow)

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine (Egmont)

Older Fiction:

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle (Corgi)

Seed by Lisa Heathfield (Electric Monkey)

13 Days of Midnight by Leo Hunt (Orchard)

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (Walker Books)

The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury (Scholastic)

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson (David Fickling Books)

The winners will be announced at an evening reception at Waterstones Piccadilly (London), Europe’s largest bookstore, on Thursday 17th March.

BookMachine are organising a Children’s Book event on March 9th – information here:

Starting tomorrow and running into Saturday (13 and 14 March), Waterstones and HarperCollins are partnering for the Killer Crime Festival, billed as the first virtual crime festival, taking place both online and irl, i.e. in Waterstones branches across the county. The festival sees authors, scriptwriters, criminal psychologists, ex-cops and ex-prisoners in conversation in sessions on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and, in a startling innovation that’ll surely amount to nothing, face to face with their audiences.

Continue reading

Credit where it’s due to Waterstones’ PR staff: following a potentially embarrassing incident last week, in which an American tourist had to tweet and post on Instagram for help (#nofilter) after being locked inside the chain’s Trafalgar Square branch for two hours when staff closed up without realising he was still there, they’ve spun what could be a clammy nightmare into a dream come true for a certain kind of book lover. Realising that being locked inside a bookshop for several hours isn’t necessarily so unappealing a prospect, the shop is this Friday hosting a ‘sleepover’ for ten guests and their plus ones.

Continue reading

In its latest attempt at marketing disguised as just a big ‘aren’t books great?’ love-in, Waterstones is asking readers across the country to submit their recollections of ‘The Book That Made Me…‘. Quoth the blurb: ‘Books are powerful things. They can introduce us to new ideas. Give us the courage to do what we couldn’t do before. Even transform our lives completely. The Book That Made Me… is an ongoing collection of stories about lives that have been changed by books.’ Submissions of 100 words or fewer can be made either in store or, naturally, online via this form, which further elaborates upon the basic idea: ‘What has a book made you do? Maybe it was the book that made you travel the world, decide to get married or take up the ukulele.’ So yes, if that sounds like you, you are probably Zooey Deschanel but also Waterstones would like to hear from you.

Continue reading

Joe Pickering

Joe Pickering is a Publicity Director at Random House UK, in charge of the Jonathan Cape and Bodley Head imprints. With a mega Twitter following (@Joethepublicist) and an enviable list of esteemed writers under his wing, we pick Joe’s brains for industry know-how and find out about the road to publicity stardom…

Continue reading

Sainsbury's vs Amazon: The Battle of the Bookselling TitansLast week, a new alliance between supermarket Sainsbury’s and social reading site aNobii rocked the publishing world. As I’ve said before, aNobii have been ramping up their online presence of late and it seems to have paid off with this deal, sparking some discussion as to whether this was Sainsbury’s well and truly making their move into eBook retailing.  But can they realistically take on the giants of the book selling industry? In a fight between young-gun Sainsobii and godly Wamazon*, who would win?

Continue reading

Waterstones and Amazon Logos CombinedIt’s been a big week in the world of Waterstones. Last Monday, we had the shock announcement that they would be hand-selling Kindles – their long-awaited digital strategy finally coming to the fore ­– followed by their refurbishment plans, introducing branded coffee shops to over 130 stores. There are so many buzz words I could use here but instead I’m going to confine myself to a run through of what seems to have emerged over the past week in the Wacky World of Waterstones.

Continue reading

Get the latest news and event info straight to your inbox

Subscribe to the BookMachine Newsletter.


+44 203 040 2298

6 Mitre Passage, Digital Greenwich - 10th Floor, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 0ER

© 2018 BookMachine We love your books