Cover Stories: Classics for children; Waterstone's/Ottakar's merge

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*This week, Bloomsbury launches a series of classics for children, each introduced by a celebrity author (Meg Cabot, Phillip Reeve, Darren Shan among them) and stylishly packaged in covers by Yeti McCaldin. The first titles, which include Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Treasure Island and Frankenstein, introduced by Benjamin Zephaniah (left), neatly coincide with Education Secretary Alan Johnson's insistence that the school curriculum feature classic writers. Each volume concludes with an "Extra" section with news stories and items of interest from the time of the book.

*Gerry Johnson, Waterstone's MD, has wasted no time in integrating Ottakar's into the merged chain, gearing up for a Christmas that needs to be far better than either retailer enjoyed last year. The book trade seems to be welcoming moves that have seen a high percentage of Ottakar's much-respected head-office team given jobs with Waterstone's. Good for them, for they ran rings round Waterstone's equivalents. Wayne Winstone's appointment as an "ambassadorial" children's category manager has been particularly welcomed.