British bookseller Waterstone's is dropping the apostrophe from its name, but keeping the possessive form: Waterstones. In a press release, Waterstone's claims that apostrophes are "impractical" in a "digital world of URLs and email"—but others point out that it's not hurting McDonald's or U.K. mega-retailer Sainsbury's.
"You would really hope that a bookshop is the last place to be so slapdash with English," says John Richards of the Apostrophe Protection Society, interviewed by The Independent's Harry Wallop.
The weird thing for me is that the "practical" excuse seems to be a rationalization for a design decision that many companies have made over the years; consider London's peerless Harrods department store. Apostrophes can look awkward in logos. It's as if the capital fund that owns Waterstone's is ignorant both of why the design decision is reasonable and why it is historically and contextually inappropriate here–and must generate extra, stupid reasons that it can justify to itself.