Ig Nobel Prize winner John Richards swung into action against a bookstore chain this week. (Mr. Richards, founder of The Apostrophe Protection Society, was awarded the 2001 Ig Nobel Prize in literature for his efforts to protect, promote, and defend the differences between plural and possessive.) Harry Wallop reports in The Daily Telegraph:
Waterstones, the bookshop, has dropped the apostrophe in its trading name and logo, sparking outrage among some of its customers.
The country’s last remaining national chain of bookshops, founded by Tim Waterstone, has decided it is more “practical” to ditch the apostrophe.
James Daunt, the managing director, who took over the chain last year following a change of ownership said: “Waterstones without an apostrophe is, in a digital world of URLs and email addresses, a more versatile and practical spelling.”
One customer on Twitter responded: “Wish I’d used that in spelling tests …”. Others used the hashtag #isnothingsacred, while another tweeted that it was another step towards apostrophe extinction.
John Richards, the chairman of the Apostrophe Protection Society said: “It’s just plain wrong. It’s grammatically incorrect. If Sainsbury’s and McDonald’s can get it right, then why can’t Waterstones. You would really hope that a bookshop is the last place to be so slapdash with English.”
The change is also a slight to the founder Tim Waterstone, who set up the company more than 30 years ago, though long ago stopped having any involvement….