Wednesday, 7 October 2009

The Hub

It’s happened. After weeks hearing whispers of concern, muttered gripes and grumbles from all sorts of quarters, it’s finally happened to me . . . I’ve fallen foul of . . . (cue spooky sound effects, dim the lights) . . . The Hub.
I’m passionate about authors supporting bookshops. I’ve blogged elsewhere about this, on the Bookseller blog and on my own blog
I’ve signed at 24 bookshops since Cut Short launched three months ago without any problem. On each occasion my book sold out and I was invited to return. I have a further dozen signings booked between now and Christmas, with several more bookshops lined up for after Christmas.
What could possibly go wrong with my bookshop events?
This coming Saturday would have been no exception. I’d arranged to sign at a busy branch of Waterstones. The Events Manager couldn’t have been more helpful. As usual, I was happy to put in the hours. The bookshop was ready. I was ready. Everything seemed fine - until I received an email from the bookshop to say they were unable to obtain the stock in time and had to cancel. The distributor could deliver the books immediately, but the store isn’t allowed to accept a delivery without permission from . . . The Hub. The Waterstones Hub.
In the good old days there wouldn't have been a problem. (What am I talking about? I’ve been a published author for three months – what good old days?). Books were delivered by the distributor whenever they were needed. There was never a problem. The distributor distributed books. That’s their job. They do it very well. What could be simpler?
Seems it was too simple and successful a system to survive.
So now Waterstones own Hub is stopping Waterstones stores from selling books.
I’m known for being outspoken but this is so weird I don’t know how to react.
Something this bizarre needs the pen of George Orwell . . . hang on, he wrote fiction. . .

Leigh Russell, author of CUT SHORT
(available on amazon and perhaps in good bookshops)


  1. oh dear ... nice site, but 'occasional' does not have two 'ss's'!

  2. Having scanned my post with a worried eye, I realised the typo wasn't mine.
    Thank you for the correction, anonymous visitor. You win the prize for spotting the typo our author site. Unfortunately, I can't send you a signed copy of Cut Short, as I don't know who you are... If you'd like to send me your details while we still have a functioning postal service, I'll send you a signed copy of Cut Short.
    Leigh Russell

  3. The last time I looked, an article about this on The Bookseller had attracted over 200 comments (surely a record for them?) and Waterstone's subsequently took away access to the site from their staff.

  4. Yes, there's been a little bit of a fuss hasn't there! I know my voice isn't a lone one, even if we are all together in a wilderness...