Waterstone's Reviews | Glassdoor

Waterstone's Reviews

Updated November 17, 2018
193 reviews

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2.7
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Waterstone's Managing Director James Daunt
James Daunt
86 Ratings

193 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Working with books, in a lovely atmosphere with lovely colleagues" (in 15 reviews)

  • "It also allowed me to get a load of new books with my staff discount" (in 30 reviews)

Cons
  • "Many stores have only one member of staff for most of the day" (in 19 reviews)

  • "Minimum wage for lots of responsibilities" (in 17 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "A nice company to work for"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Bookseller
    Former Employee - Bookseller
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Waterstone's full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    If you love books and reading, then this is a great job. Company values staff and is involved in its own personal development. You are expected to be knowledgeable about what you sell, and you get a lovely staff discount too.

    Cons

    At my branch, it was well known that my boss could say inappropriate things to members of staff (she had an odd attitude in how to direct staff, including changing long established shift hours for no reason, then complaining at staff when they had to be changed back and it was well known you had to be on her good side if you had any requests). Concerns were made to regional management, but whether anything was done I do not know.

    Advice to Management

    If you ever decide to open branches in the USA let me know! Also, please have accountability for bookstore managers.


  2. "Perfectly fine, but not looking to improve"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Waterstone's part-time

    Pros

    you get a discount on great books

    Cons

    the company is really stagnant

  3. Helpful (1)

    "mised"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Bookseller in Canterbury, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Senior Bookseller in Canterbury, England (UK)
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Waterstone's part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    If you love books it is a great place to work.
    Colleagues a great mixture of people.
    Get to meet some really interesting customers and opens your every to new books to read!
    Lovely atmosphere.
    You can really make a difference to people, we used to get a lot of customers for whom the store was a social and intellectual lifeline.
    Great discount.
    Events are great if you are at a larger store.
    Really you have a limited amount of responsibility - work is left a work.

    Cons

    HR operation not great - and this is coming from someone who now works in HR. Culture of bullying left to flourish in some stores.
    Limited opportunities for career development - very much based on whose face fits.
    I had a really awful manager, but they were a long serving employee who they would not do anything about despite various complaints. Hence the HR issues.
    Pay poor but it is essentially retail so in line with the market.
    Rota was always a bit of a shambles. Holiday hard to book etc.

    Advice to Management

    Improve your working culture and HR visibility. Do not rely on people's love of books meaning they put up with poor culture. It is unethical.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Wouldn’t recommend long term"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senor Bookseller in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Senor Bookseller in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Waterstone's full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good discount
    Opportunity to get advanced reading copies

    Cons

    Understaffed
    Underpaid
    Very little room for progression


  5. "Bookseller"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Lovely people
    Beautiful shops
    Good training
    You learn so much about books

    Cons

    Very low pay
    Everyone is extremely overqualified for what they are doing
    Rude customers


  6. "Bookseller"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Waterstone's full-time

    Pros

    Working with something you feel passionate about.Customers are usually pleasant if sometimes high maintenance.

    Cons

    Very little appreciation for your efforts. Booksellers are the foundation for the revival in the company yet they are constantly taken for granted.

    Advice to Management

    The autonomy that James Daunt supposedly wants in his stores will never be achieved with the constant middle management interference that shops suffer from.


  7. "My Favourite Part-time Job That I've Had"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Barista/Bookseller
    Former Employee - Barista/Bookseller
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Waterstone's part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Really lovely like-minded colleagues
    The stores work in clusters, which are all tailored to the local area, so there was room to be independent and contribute ideas
    You can get a 'behind the scenes' view of publishing, and sometimes attend events and meet authors
    Get a sneaky look at books before they're published
    50% discount

    Cons

    There is a lot to know- so many different genres that you are expected to have some knowledge of which can be daunting for new starters
    You are pushed to sell the books of the month (I personally don't like having to hard sell)

  8. "No respect for staff loyalty"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Bookshop Manager
    Former Employee - Bookshop Manager
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Waterstone's full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Fantastic colleagues, being surrounded by books all day & 50% discount

    Cons

    I gave 9 years of my life to this company to be taken advantage of. Managing the store on a basic booksellers wage was only the start. Being told that we were in the job for the love of books not money by management was true in the end. I worked for several mangers until they made me one but in a struggling store whatever I did wasn’t good enough.
    In a deprived area we were a target for every shoplifter around with often only 1 member of staff for a 2 floor store. It often felt quite intimidating with gangs of kids taking up residence on the first floor when it was impossible for a lone worker to leave the ground floor.
    Selling books of the month designed for affluent middle class customers was almost impossible.
    When I gave notice I was overpaid (I was owed time off in lieu that it was impossible to take. My ‘debt’ was sold to a debt collector.
    Massively stressful & detrimental to mental health.

    Advice to Management

    I got tired of hearing how much we were valued by James Daunt only to be treated with contempt by middle management.
    Stop having favourites, treat your staff on merit & for goodness sake pay them a living wage.


  9. "Dynamic, progressive place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Aylesbury, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Aylesbury, England (UK)
    Recommends

    I worked at Waterstone's part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Before I say anything, I'd like to make it clear that I had only a few months experience in a single store. However, I did enjoy my time at Waterstone's tremendously. It was a dynamic, happy place to work, where people were really helpful and patient. The work itself allows you to be in touch with all sorts of people, but by dealing with literature, you can peek a bit into who people really are. Besides, I could see that it was a space that grants a employer a chance to grow. What I liked most is how Waterstone's makes booksellers a part of the whole "publish-sell" process, as it's really easy for a bookseller to be in touch with publishers. Therefore, the scope of your network expands beyond your branch.

    Cons

    I'm not really sure. I don't find myself in a position where I can complain much. Maybe I was lucky, but, as I said, I met truly patient, supportive and friendly people during my time at the company. Therefore, even when facing problems, we could resolve them quickly and effectively.


  10. "Enjoyable"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Waterstone's part-time

    Pros

    50% off books, pleasant working environment and co-workers

    Cons

    Office and stock space fairly disorganised


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