Sponsored by Penguin Random House
Waterstones is buying the historic family-owned book chain Foyles in a surprise deal billed as an antidote to the “siren call” of online rival Amazon.
The sale brings down the curtain on the independence of one of Britain’s best known bookselling dynasties, with Foyles most famous for its Charing Cross Road branch in London.
“It felt as though there was a tide of hope after that election,” says Franklin, adding that the boxes “feel a bit like political acts”, working against the “tide of commercialism, hate, fear, selfishness – they’re the opposite of that”.
You can see the waterproofed boxes all around the city, peeking out of the trees by the roadside or boldly raised on posts in front gardens. Each one is a couple of feet tall and houses about 40 books, with the initial stock coming from donations.