Monday 11 March 2013

Blinding with the obvious

There was a time when good manners and ways of approaching people were common practice. Now it seems everything must be assessed and accredited. In an age when family support groups are dwindling, external corroboration is taking off, whether it be via social media or ‘professional’ certification. These certificates are not given out for free. For a degree, diploma, driving test or piano exam, someone is footing the bill. But these processes answer a basic human need for validation.
Now Waterstones is setting up an academy where employees will be taught how to sell books. They will study modules with titles like: ‘Engaging your customers’ and ‘selling to customers’. This has been announced amid a fanfare of self-congratulation, as a UK “industry first”, a professional qualification in bookselling, run in partnership with the University of Derby - who are presumably not offering their support gratis. The Senior Learning and Development Manager at Waterstones said: 'We are delighted to be working with the University of Derby Corporate on developing this innovative course for booksellers.’ (University of Derby Corporate?... A bookseller managing to sell books is an innovative idea?)
As if that wasn’t enough to demonstrate the bookstore chain’s belief in the symbiotic relationship between education and books, Waterstones has reassuringly announced its commitment to the academic books market.
Oh, and on 26th April Waterstones is closing six of its twelve bookshops on university campuses, in Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Derby, Keele and Swansea. (No fanfare.)


Charles Gramlich said...

Sometimes I wonder if I'm even going to recognize the world of writing, reading and publishing in a few years.

Leigh Russell said...

You mean the world of typing, downloading and uploading, Charles?

BernardL said...

Downsizing in today's market is the new paradigm. It has to be done or they will be in a position to lose everything. I'm not too sure about their reeducation camps for employees though. Maybe the objective is to teach them to be tolerant of reading choices. We had a Barnes and Noble near us that has since closed where the clerks were hiding genres they didn't like. :)

I have to say, your comment decoder for robot detection is closer to hieroglyphics. :)

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Bernard - not sure amazon would agree about downsizing... it seems that companies are growing larger and larger and those that don't are merging... it's the small people who are being squeezed out, like the bookshops, sadly. Waterstones have already lost the game, but have fortunately been bailed out by Russian billionaire Mamut or they would have gone the way of Borders. Booksellers hiding books sounds like a disastrous strategy! No wonder they folded. That's a crazy way to behave. What idiots. I'm sorry about the robot detection - I wasn't aware I that was switched on. It might be automatic, or perhaps I activated in the past. Those things annoy me because I always get them wrong. And I don't think I'm a robot... Thanks for commenting.