Waterstones ditches apostrophe
Book chain Waterstone's has ditched the apostrophe before its final letter in order to make its spelling easier in the digital age, the company has said.
The chain has been known as Waterstone’s since it was founded in 1982 by entrepreneur Tim Waterstone.
However the retailer’s new head, James Daunt, who also founded rival book chain Daunt Books, is jettisoning 30 years of bookselling history by altering the punctuation, to become Waterstones.
“Waterstones without an apostrophe is, in a digital world of URLs and email addresses, a more versatile and practical spelling,” said Mr Daunt.
However, language experts were outraged.
John Richards, the chairman of the Apostrophe Protection Society, described the change as "slapdash", particularly from a bookshop.
The removal of the apostrophe also has subtler connotations.
Tim Waterstone has not worked at the chain for well over a decade and the removal of the possessive punctuation makes it clear to shoppers that the bookshops no longer belong to him.
Mr Daunt said: “It reflects an altogether truer picture of our business today which, while created by one, is now built on the continued contribution of thousands of individual booksellers.”
The retailer’s logo will also revert to its old Baskerville typeface after a trendy redesign a few years ago resulted in the ‘W’ being written in the lower case.
“Waterstones is an iconic brand deserving of a capital W,” said Mr Daunt.
Scott Pack, a former head of book-buying at Waterstones who now works in publishing, said that he was a fan of the recent redesign.
"The last rebranding wasn't all that long ago and appeared to be well received by publishers and customers alike. I certainly thought it showed some real imagination," he said.
The new, apostrophe-free name will be gradually implemented on all of the retailer’s written communication, in stores and online.
The book chain was bought last year by Russian businessman Alexander Mamut from HMV Group, the struggling music retailer.