Thursday, 12 January 2012

Waterstone, Booksellers

The bookseller, Waterstone's, has ditched the apostrophe before its final letter in order to make its spelling "easier in the digital age", the company has claimed.

The chain has been known as Waterstone’s since it was founded in 1982 by the entrepreneur, Tim Waterstone. 

However the retailer’s new head honcho, James Daunt, who also founded rival book chain Daunt Books, is jettisoning 30 years of book-selling history by altering the punctuation, to become Waterstones [sic]. 

“Waterstones without an apostrophe is, in a digital world of URLs and email addresses, a more versatile and practical spelling,” asserted Mr Daunt. 

Rest assured, readers, that Timothy Belmont shall continue to maintain proper standards on this Blog, including apostrophes; whilst shunning such grammatical errors as split infinitives, which are commonplace today.   

There are precedents for this slovenly grammar: Harrod's department store no longer uses an apostrophe.

Language experts are outraged. John Richards, the chairman of the Apostrophe Protection Society, described the change as "slapdash", particularly from a bookshop. 

The removal of the apostrophe also has subtler connotations.

Mr Waterstone has not worked at the chain for well over a decade and the removal of the possessive punctuation makes it clear to shoppers that the bookshops no longer belong to him.

Mr Daunt said: “It reflects an altogether truer picture of our business today which, while created by one, is now built on the continued contribution of thousands of individual booksellers.” 

The retailer’s logo will also revert to its old Baskerville typeface after a trendy redesign a few years ago resulted in the ‘W’ being written in the lower case. 

“Waterstones is an iconic brand deserving of a capital W,” said Mr Daunt.

The new, apostrophe-free name will be gradually implemented on all of the retailer’s written communication, in stores and online.

The book chain was bought last year by the Russian businessman Alexander Mamut from HMV Group.

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