The new

Books,Design Thursday 12th October 2006

I’ve just checked out the waterstones website after noticing an ad in todays Metro. This new site is a reversal of their online strategy as previously the site was run as a glorified amazon affiliate. It was basically just a mirror of amazon’s book site with a waterstones logo at the top.

This new site is much nicer. It has a fresh and clean style and even has a few trendy curved boxes. The styled form elements look a little like a flash app but help to tie together the overall style. Doing a quick comparison the pricing seems competitive and the shipping is marginally cheaper. The threshold for free shipping is the same as amazon (£15) but amazon’s free shipping is “Super Saver” i.e. slow. It’s nice to see that they’ve improved the events and local store information (something which amazon did terribly) and that bookseller reviews are intergrated with product descriptions. The much talked about blogs are a little on the shonky side with no RSS and no visible actual blog-like structure.

Overall though, a vast improvement on the previous incarnation.

Disclaimer: I used to work at waterstones


  1. I did notice the other day that Borders is just a glorified amazon affiliate.

  2. The original Waterstone’s site was quite good (for the time) with branch info, feedback and even online magazines like the SF one with articles from published authors and staff (I even got paid a small amount for reviews). Then they pissed it all away by going Amazon and took years to realise this meant they lost a ton of sales to, well, Amazon and had to spend more time and money to go back. Big improvement on the webstore front but don’t think much of the ‘blogs’ (which don’t really seem like blogs)

  3. Agreed. Maybe Yossarian himself isn’t aware of it, but one can hear the breath of the corporate heavy mob whistling down his neck. It’s a relatively minor example of what the Czech writer Ivan Klima called ‘jerkish’ – officially-sponsored, self-censored tat, all the more laughable for its attempts to be hep.