Oh no

I’ve missed this, but apparently Waterstone’s want to take over Ottakars. The deal was halted because of investigation by The Competition Commission, but now the commission has come to the conclusion that the deal’s ok. It’s not going to be a problem, apparently, because bookseller’s are meeting such tough competition from supermarkets anyway. Ms. Bookish links to an article in The Guardian which has me fuming, especially at the last sentence, proclaimed by Diana Guy who led the commission’s inquiry: “We felt that the big publishers can probably look after themselves.” Yes, well, I’m not sure anyone is worried about the fate of the big publishers. What everyone, including the big publishers, but excepting the commission, is worried about is the possibility of publishing titles with a small or unknown market if the only avenue for sales is the bookshelf at the supermarket. Don’t get me wrong, I love browsing in Waterstone’s and Ottakar’s is, after all, just another chain, but so far there’s been a point of going to both, because they’ve had different titles on their shelves, after a merger they’re all going to look the same.