Open letter to Waterstones online

Yes I should be writing, but sometimes I'm too annoyed to concentrate.

Dear Waterstones website folk,

What'swrong with you? Don't you like money? Seriously, I'm confused.

Christmas is coming up and you know what? Lots of people like buying
presents for people online, apparently it's the next big thing. Now I'm
an author so I like Waterstones, I like you guys a lot. I don't like
Amazon nearly so much and while I still buy stuff there, when it comes
to books I try to go to Waterstones and encourage others to because, well, bookshops are a good thing and my world would be better if Amazon didn't rule it.

But you're not exactly making things easy for me. Most people aren't like me, they aren't going to have CDs etc on one website's wishlist and books on another. And that's fine, but I want to encourage you. If your bookshops
are to survive you also need to make money online because that's how the world is and at Christmas, I'm guessing a hell of a lot of customers are like my friends and family – they want to see a list of things I want online and the chance to buy them.

But what's this you say? Waterstones have wishlists too? Sure you do, and

like many other aspects of your website, they're making you look like
some remedial windowlicker when put next to Amazon, despite the
improvements from when I first registered on it. That you don't have
huge amounts to spend perfecting your website is fine, but do you ever
think about the people who might buy stuff there?

I want my family to buy books for me on Waterstones. I want Waterstones to have all the book money

they spend outside of what few local, independent bookshops are left.
You guys however, you don't want their money, you want them to give up
and go to bloody Amazon instead. You guys have hidden my wish list in
some backward corner of your website so that it's possible to find if
someone's determined and they already know it exists, but otherwise NO
ONE IS EVER GOING TO KNOW IT'S THERE. Nowhere on your front page does it
mention wish lists, they have to be inferred from the small wording
underneath the buy button on individual pages. I have one and even I had
to go search your help pages to find out how other people might also
find out what I wanted. It turns out they need an account of their own,
they need to log in to said account, they need to go to their own wish
list, scroll down and then find somewhere they can enter an email
address to search for mine.

Why do you hate making money? Account logins are a pain, but if someone's

found something they want to buy, they'll register at a website like
yours. Going through help pages to find out how they might find out what
I want, that's pretty dumb of you.Making them register before they find
out if you've got it in stock, also dumb. Not letting them search by MY
BLOODY NAME is really dumb. I don't just have one email address, most
people I know don't. I have three in actual fact, and the main
correspondence ones aren't the ones I have for online accounts. I forget
why that happened and it's not standard I know, but it's a fact and not
even my wife is likely to remember it correctly at the first attempt.
My in-laws won't either and they like buying books, a lot. If I'd used
the other personal email adress however, they'd still be having to work
harder than they should be. As your techies can probably tell you,
people don't remember email addresses these days, it's like phone
numbers. The world's moved on and auto-complete or address books makes
life better for everyone, partly because no one has to remember crap
like that. ABSOBLOODYLUTELY everyone who buys me stuff can remember my
name however. All of 'em, I promise. If they know I have a wish list and
they know I have a name, they should be able to find stuff I want them
to buy for me. After all, they're giving you the money, no?

Christmas is fast approaching and I realise by using your website I've caused my friends and family a
certain amount of irritation. But do not fear, I've found the solution.
You see, there's a plugin for my Firefox browser which can add stuff to
my Amazon wishlist even if it's for sale on a different website. You
see, soulless bastards they might be, Amazon know how to sell people
stuff. Generally they work on the principle that it should be easy for
people to give them money; something you might want to think about.
You'll have to excuse me now, I need to make Amazon tell people about
stuff I want bought on your website. Hopefully one day, you won't need
their help.


Best wishes,


4 thoughts on “Open letter to Waterstones online

  1. Oh Boy……Calm down Tom. Calm down. Take some time off…I can wait till July. I’ll check out Waterstones…..Get a pint (or two) for now, and things will usually iron themselves out…

  2. Oh Boy……Calm down Tom. Calm down. Take some time off…I can wait till July. I’ll check out Waterstones…..Get a pint (or two) for now, and things will usually iron themselves out…

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