Cover Stories: First International Poetry Incarnation; Ottakar's; Graham Greene Festival

Click to follow

* As Waterstone's posted its 92-page offer document to Ottakar's shareholders for a £96.4m takeover bid, Ottakar's itself announced the opening of three new shops - in Wimbledon, Godalming and Bridport. All are "perfect examples of Ottakar's towns", a market that it serves better than any, says CEO James Heneage rather pointedly. Yet if Waterstone's succeeds with its bid, they could easily be among some of the closures that follow any takeover. The mood among publishers is despondent, but the more optimistic believe there is a good chance the case will be referred to the Competition Commission. Everyone agrees that Waterstone's is being disingenuous when it claims a takeover would give it only around 25 per cent of the book market: among proper stockholding bookshops, the figure could be as high as 80 per cent. Now Glenda Jackson, the Hampstead MP whose constituents include many authors and publishers, has asked the Commons Library to prepare a briefing.

* The Hertfordshire town of Berkhamsted will be en fête from 29 September to 2 October, with the eighth Graham Greene Festival. Many events take place at Berkhamsted School, where Greene's father was headmaster. Among the speakers is film director Guy Hamilton, who worked on the The Third Man, and Koo Stark - photographer and one-time squeeze of Prince Andrew - who will reminisce about her friendship with Greene. Details from: www.grahamgreenebt.org

Comments