Sunday, 16 December 2012
I've been doing a fair amount of Christmas shopping in bookshops. Books are so easy to wrap and all the lovely signed books come out at this time of the year. I'm fairly omnivorous when it comes to reading material, so browse secondhand, indie and chain bookshops with equal pleasure. Well, mostly. There are, though, some points that make visiting a shop a pleasure or an endurance. Naming no names here...
My feelings are that a bookshop should:
1. Have wide aisles that you can browse in without feeling that you're about to knock a book off the shelf or bump into another customer.
2. Not have signs saying 'no pushchairs in aisles' or 'do not sit in aisles'. Surely, something along the lines of 'be considerate to fellow browsers' would be better?
3. Clear signs and floor-plans. So basic, I know, but keep it fairly constant and don't take the opportunity to re-do your internal layout every three months. Customers won't take the opportunity to look round the shop, they'll get fed up and make a swift move to the exit.
4. Friendly and knowledgeable staff. Someone who can tell me that Paul Torday wrote Salmon Fishing in the Yemen because I could only remember 'T' and they answered without a pause.
5. Remove the damaged stock from the main floor and keep replenishing shelves with new deliveries. The last thing I want is to skirt round your stock that's been so carefully stacked up against the shelves and is on the floor waiting to be damaged or see shelves so stuffed full that removing a book is a struggle.
What about anyone else?