The song remains the same

I’d heard from some folks that the new centralised distribution system at my former work had been, frankly, a bit of a dog’s breakfast, with a tendency to be unreliable on both general stock and special customer orders (none of which surprised me, I recall a centralised system when the company was part of WH Smith’s years back and it too was a bloody mess of a thing), which has, understandably, exasperated staff (and worried publishers), who spoke about it in the Bookseller journal, which is the main trade periodical of the British book trade. So Waterstone’s apparently moved to ensure staff couldn’t access the Bookseller online, which has had the unfortunate outcome of meaning the story now becomes about a large bookseller gagging staff again when they have anything critical to say.

Sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it? In fact the Guardian article name-checks me and my disturbing experience almost five years ago in the coverage of this new story. Again the same large bookseller appears to be condoning censorship, which, regardless of what you think of the rights or wrongs of the original story in the Bookseller, shows some very poor judgement on behalf of senior management, who should have anticipated that the act of gagging staff and blocking access to the main book trade journal in response to negative criticism would then create a second story which reflects badly on them. Some folks never learn…