By the book

Joel Ricketts, in his article on Waterstone's ("The swan song of Waterstone's", 17 July), misses the point about our so-called change of direction. Anyone would think our shops no longer stock a range of up to 265,000 different titles, a figure unrivalled in the British book trade. Only 5 per cent of books are promoted centrally by Waterstone's, leaving our branch booksellers - still book-lovers, still championing new writing and always passionate about books - to buy the remaining 95 per cent. And we're proud to be able to promote authors such as Marian Keyes and Terry Pratchett alongside Rupert Thomson and Michael Frayn. That's what our customers tell us they want and that's what diversity is all about.

David Kneale
Managing director, Waterstone's
Brentford, Middlesex

This article first appeared in the 24 July 2000 issue of the New Statesman, Miserable small-mindedness