Friday, September 30, 2011

Making room for books.

I consolidated some of my graphic novels sections, to make room for new books.

I've got about 500 new books coming in the next ten days.

I eliminated a shelf dedicated to "Suggestions" from me and my employees; it didn't seem to have much impact, and even if it did, such efforts need constant updating which requires good planning which means I have to have a procedure which means....that the shelf is no more.

I'll have two shelves together which contain the mainstream type graphic novels like Maus and Persepolis, instead of the two shelves separated by half the store.

The biggest change is that I have turned a bookcase over the "Horror" novels; mostly because I need the room in the S.F. and Fantasy section. I already have a 'paranormal romance' section -- all purple and black (the publishers love that purple and black color scheme) -- but there is a lot of cross over between regular horror, paranormal romance (I wish they'd come up with a better description...), and dark fantasy, so I decided it needed it's own section.

Mostly, it was just moving the same genres closer together.

So -- I gained 3 shelves for S.F. Fantasy, 3 shelves for Young Adult, 5 shelves for horror, 1 shelf for independent graphic novels, 1 shelf for classic novels.

I lost -- my "Suggestion" shelf, a couple of shelves for "art toys" (no loss -- I was able to use other parts of the store, and probably actually improved the display), and probably 15 or 20 "face-out" book possibilities.

I'm in a Catch-22 due to my lack of space. I still see potential books to buy -- but I have no way of displaying them except spine out. I'm trying the trick of propping the books in front of other books, which isn't ideal either.

It all comes down to a lack of space.

I've trying to cram 6 to 8 product lines in my store, where I could probably do 1 or 2.

But bottom line -- it works. Maybe not ideally, but better than not doing it at all. I've proven to my own satisfaction over and over again, that more display and less product doesn't work as well as less display and more product. Sure, it isn't as cost-effective -- but I'm not concerned about cost as long as I can pay for it within cash-flow, and I am concerned about pushing sales up.

I think this is the choice most (surviving) independent bookstores are going to have to make -- to have a very wide diversity of product lines. Doing, in effect, what B & N were doing in a larger space, in a smaller space.

Such a strategy requires a small business owner who is paying attention to his inventory -- instead of a huge chain using computers. Because Amazon can do that better.

My biggest problem right now, is finding a way to categorize. I've been doing graphic novels, cartoon books, and art books by theme and age levels -- also by publisher. But I've had too many times lately, when even I -- the owner -- could not find a book I was pretty sure I had in stock, because I didn't have time to run my eyes over every shelf.

I think might retail all the above strategies, but try to alphabetize by TITLE on each Bookcase -- except where I alphabetize by author. Oh, it's a mess. A big jumbled mess of goodness.

1 comment:

Leitmotiv said...

I think the biggest impact for suggestions, comes from the employee themselves, when you are in store asking questions. That's when it pays to have a knowledgeable employee