The bookseller Waterstone’s has been sold by its parent group HMV to the Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut A&NN group. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the story is that James Daunt, the founder of the independent bookshop Daunt Books (which now has several branches across London), will join Waterstone’s as managing director in July. There had been persistent rumours, prior to the sale, that Tim Waterstone would be returning to run the chain that he founded in 1982.
In an interview with the Bookseller in 2007, Daunt said the key to running a good bookshop is simple: pay higher wages to retain knowledgeable staff. Waterstone’s staff will be waiting anxiously to see if he still believes in that formula.