Waterstone's abandons the 3-for-2 book deal


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The Independent Online

To some, it devalued the printed word, to others, it provided much-needed value during tough economic times. Now, the high-street bookshop Waterstone's has axed its ubiquitous three-for-two offer in its 300 British stores, in a bold move by recently appointed managing director, the independent bookseller James Daunt.

Daunt, who founded the independent book chain Daunt Books in 1990, intimated that change was afoot during a May interview. He claimed Daunt Books does not "despoil our books by putting stickers on them. We don't use price as a marketing tool".

The 47-year-old Cambridge graduate was parachuted in to run Waterstone's in June after the chain was sold by HMV to the Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut. The offer, which saw purchasers splash out on impulse buys for just over a decade, will come to an end next month and the book trade has welcomed the news.

"I think it's hugely significant," said Curtis Brown literary agent Jonny Geller. "I was against it because it seemed illogical. You walked away with three books, meaning it was longer before you came back to the shop."

Neill Denny, editor-in-chief of The Bookseller, said: "The offer has been going for a decade and this is a clear sign that Waterstone's is under new management. I think the company became dependent on three-for-two and neglected other parts of their brand, including their stores, because the three-for-two offer was so good for them."