Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Merger Is New Threat to Small Booksellers

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Merger Is New Threat to Small Booksellers

Article excerpt

Byline: SIMON ATKINSON

LONDON'S independent booksellers today warned of a fresh threat to their future after the go-ahead was given for Ottakar's to be taken over by another chain.

The firm is expected to be bought by HMV, parent company of Waterstone's, after the controversial decision by the Competition Commission. Small bookshops fear that the high street giant's deep pockets will allow it to further undercut sole traders who are being hammered with high business rates, rents and competition from supermarkets.

Already, booksellers in central London say they are "living on borrowed time".

They back the Evening Standard's campaign for action to help imperilled small shops survive.

Lesley Agnew, who runs Children's Bookshop in Muswell Hill, said: "It's bad news for the book world if even more of the power is put in the hands of one company. Waterstone's only stocks a limited number of children's books.

"We are able to offer a wider range but eventually the publishers will stop publishing those books because there aren't enough outlets prepared to stock them. …

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