Waterstones is the last surviving bookshop chain in the UK, which is largely due to the company’s commitment for each of their stores to be run like a local, independent bookstore. This means that every store’s management has the power to decide what books and products will best please their own customers.

Waterstones also actively encourage their employees to be book lovers themselves, writing hand-written recommendations beside books, to help customers decide on a new book to try. This level of knowledge is immensely popular with customers who like certain genres or authors, but want to branch out to something new – the staff can help advise on books they might like.

You can choose from an enormous range of literature and non-fiction at this bookstore. There are books across all kinds of genres from children’s fiction to travel books, self-help literature, cookery books, historical books, language texts and bestsellers. There are also some other gift items on sale like toys and accessories.

Waterstones Opening Times  and Locations

Despite e-readers becoming increasingly popular over the last few years, Waterstones are still managing to keep people interested in traditional paper books. Which is evident when you consider the chain has over 280 branches across the UK, with more opening every year.

Like a true classic, Waterstones have a very understated logo and shopfront, opting for a simple ‘W’ or their name in a stylish font. Shopfronts are usually black and white or black and gold, allowing for people’s eyes to instead be caught by the bright colours of the latest books on offer. The shops themselves are set out similar to a library, with large bookshelves stuffed with books that are arranged alphabetically by author.

Waterstones opening times are usually from 9am till 5.30pm Monday to Saturday with Waterstones opening times varying from store-to-store on Sundays. Here you are best to visit the website store locator and click ‘near me’. This will tell you exactly when your local Waterstones is open. The same applies for Waterstone branches in shopping centres where closing times can differ.  Check out our store locator tool to find Waterstones opening times at branches near you.

Like most retail establishments, Waterstones closes on Christmas and some establishments will close on New Year’s Day. Closing times will vary on the likes of Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve too. The shop tends to be open on other bank holidays, though although Waterstones opening times could vary depending on local regulations.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Waterstones

Book-lovers love to hear facts, so here are some you might not know about your favourite book retailer:

  1. Waterstones let its branches have their own – often opinionated – Twitter accounts. These often go viral, including the Uxbridge store in May 2018 that accused certain men of disliking books written by women.
  2. Just like popular video games get midnight shop openings, Waterstones branches open at midnight when highly popular books go on sale. The most famous of these being their Harry Potter parties where fans would dress up and queue for the latest release.
  3. Waterstones often host book signings by various authors. These range from signings and/or readings from writers local to that store, to nationwide book tours from larger authors.
  4. Waterstones have their own awards scheme for authors they believe deserve recognition. Every year they name a ‘Book of the Year’ across various categories.
  5. The chain claim to have made Stoner by John Williams a bestseller forty years after it was first published.

Products and Services

True, first and foremost, Waterstones is a book shop, however every branch across the UK has had to step up its game in order to stay relevant in a nation that’s often glued to our technology.

One of Waterstones’ greatest assets is how independent it allows its individual establishments to be. This strive to create a personal service is what continues to bring book lovers back to their shops, looking for recommendations and advice on what they should read next. This is especially important when it’s so easy to use other online retailers to buy your books from.

This service is echoed onto the company’s website, where the website is laid out to be simple and full of recommendations. There is also a weekly newsletter to help you find your next great read.

Waterstones don’t just sell books these days though, they also have a wide range of gifts and stationery for book lovers. This includes: board games, collectibles, soft toys, notebooks, adult colouring books and crafts.

Many branches also have a cafe concession, allowing you to sit with a coffee and cake to enjoy your new book.

A Brief History

Waterstones was originally founded by a man named Tim Waterstone in 1982, and the store is named after him. Over the years, the store has had many different owners, including WHSmith and the HMV Group. It is currently owned by A&NN Capital Fund Management, which is owned by Alexander Mamut, a Russian billionaire.

It was this current owner that scraped the company’s centralised decision-making and instead opted for the popular store-led decisions that have been so successful with Waterstones’ customers.