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Waterstones dropping their apostrophe shows that even book shops can’t punctuate these days

PUBLISHED: 03:25 31 January 2012 | UPDATED: 09:12 15 February 2012

Waterstones has announced a rebranding exercise which will see it drop the apostrophe from its name.

“Waterstones without an apostrophe is, in a digital world of URLs and email addresses, a more versatile and practical spelling,” said James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones Without An Apostrophe.

“It also reflects an altogether truer picture of our business.”

I take it he’s referring to the fact that barely anyone can punctuate properly these days and we’re a hair’s breadth from books being a series of text message abbreviations written on the back of a fag packet.

(“2mrw & 2mrw & 2mrw crEpz n dis pety plAs frm dA 2 dA 2 d lst silabl of rcrdd tIm & al our ystdAz hv lItd f%lz d way 2 dsty def...tis a tAl tld by an ejit, ful of snd & fury sgnfyn nutin.”

This soliloquy from Shakespeare neatly sums up Waterstones’ rebranding, although it may take you several pain-wracked hours to decipher it.)

In addition to the loss of punctuation to cater for an online problem that doesn’t exist – even village idiots know web addresses don’t have apostrophes in them – the bookseller has also made two other changes.

“Waterstones is an iconic brand deserving a capital W and a font that reflects authority and confidence – Baskerville does just that,” said Mr Daunt.

It’s almost as if he believes what he’s saying.

Anyway, I think I’ve solved the mystery of where the lost apostrophe has gone – I spotted it in the windows of John Lewis, where there were sale signs bragging about the “1000’s of bargains” in store.

“An apostrophe should never be used to form the plural of ordinary nouns, names, abbreviations or numbers,” I whispered sadly to myself, “and I hope you have some super king-size duvet covers on sale, because they are so expensive that the last time I bought one I wept as I paid.”

Oh John Lewis: never knowingly undersold, but unknowingly over-punctuated.


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