The Bookseller recently published what appears to be a very interesting article about a sort of bookseller’s university that Waterstones—the UK-based bookstore chain—plans to open at some point in the near-to-distant future. And I use the term “appears,” by the way, because the article in question in available only to subscribers of the website’s premium content, of which I am not one. Bummer.
The article’s abstract, at any rate, claims that Waterstones Academy, as the school will be known, will be an “industry first” in the UK. Students of the nine month-long program, which will be operated in partnership with the University of Derby, will earn a “professional qualification in bookselling.” (Whatever that means.) A pilot version of the Waterstones Academy is apparently scheduled to kick off sometime this April.
Clearly, this is a program that will be almost too easy to make fun of. Why on earth, after all, would an otherwise intelligent person choose to spend nine months of their life—to say nothing of their hard-earned money—studying the not-so-complicated art of selling books? And how much is this Academy going to cost, anyway? And aren’t brick-and-mortar bookstores going the way of the Dodo anyhow?
Lots of questions here, in other words. And yet frankly—I’m being serious now—I find this concept fascinating, especially since it’s coming from the UK, which has a very long tradition of taking seemingly lowly professions very seriously.
I haven’t yet been able to turn over any other information about the program, but I’ve already put in calls to both Waterstones and Derby U, and I’ll definitely be posting more details here as soon as I manage to round ’em up. (And please leave a note in the comments section below if you happen to know more about this story than we do!)