Found a fascinating new site called, Literature Map. You type in an author's name, and a cloud bubble is created with the names of similar authors. The closer the name is, the more other readers have recommended the author.
I noticed that it seems to be more about similar styles of writing or storytelling.
Not so much about the quality of the writing. Putting Terry Goodkind and George R.R. Martin together is like putting spam and steak together -- they're both technically meats.
I've put it on my computer at the store and the next time someone mentions that they "like" an author and who else would I recommend (?), I'm going to use it.
Really, though, it's pretty much what I've always done as a bookseller -- so this will just give me a gentle reminder. I'll try to tell the customer which is spam and which is steak.
I've decided to double the space I devote to "classic" books, which seem to sell consistently.
I've all but given up on used hardcover mysteries, and I'm just going to pile those at the bottom of a couple of bookcases and sell them for a flat 5.00 each.
This frees up enough room to put all my 'non-fiction' against the east wall, and gives me two bookcases to put New books into. One, as I said, for classics. The other bookcase I'm saving is the one that I'm devoting to themes; a bookshelf for Pirates, and Retro Future, and Weird Western, and Steampunk, and Robots, and Dragons.
There's still room in this Tardis.
I was joking that just getting the covers to the New Yorker was enough to pay for the subscription, with the inside cartoons as a bonus.
The last two covers have been great.
In one, the picture is of illegal immigrants Pilgrims crawling under the fence and racing for the border. Makes it's point.
The latest (which I haven't actually received yet, but which I've seen online, is a Dan Clowes (great to see great graphic novel artists get work with the big boys) picture of a 'future' bookstores. In a store full of t-shirts and toys and e-books, a clerk is pointing out to a dismayed customer a small, neglected row of books at the bottom of a rack.
4 days ago