A (short and informal) response to Waterstones’s new branding

Earlier this week The Bookseller reported on Waterstones’s new branding. The chosen slogans are:

“Books you can’t put down are much easier to find when you can actually pick them up”; “Even the most ardent reader will never reach the end of a good bookshop”; “Words cannot do justice to the pleasures of a good bookshop. Ironically”; and “A good book will keep you fascinated for days, a bookshop for your whole life”.

In my humble and largely novice opinion, I think these selections hit their mark quite nicely. They appeal to the vanity and pleasure of readers everywhere; at the same time, they use the power of words to reinforce the Waterstones content and business. Mostly, they work.

Except one.

“Words cannot do justice to the pleasures of a good bookshop” – minus the last word – sounds pleasingly like an old adage. It’s like a bookworm’s quiet truism, paying testament to bookshops in the least aggressive way possible. However, the addition of “Ironically” robs the phrase of its effect. Instead, it comes across as a bitter snipe – or worse, a failed attempt to be cool and reach out to the younger generation.

In short, that particular slogan is neither clever nor appealing. It just barely covers the animosity towards ebooks and online stores – childish, yes, but also a big turn-off for those of us who buy both types of book.

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About fictavia

Fictavia (noun): writer, critiquer of the publishing world and witty reviewer.

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