Review-filled periodicals piling up around your desk? Stacks of Publishers Weeklys making their way into your recycle bin? Booksellers (and maybe librarians too), why not put those reviews in front of your customers/patrons? No, I’m not suggesting you should pile up those outdated issues on a display table. I’m saying you should take scissors to them. Now. Cut out those book reviews (and maybe some interesting articles too) and then post them!
I started doing this in our children’s section a couple years ago with our issues of PW. After I’ve had a chance to thumb through the latest one(s) I tear out the pages of children’s reviews and clip the (favorable) ones focused on books we’ve currently got in stock or will have in the near future. We then laminate those reviews using our little office-sized laminator and stick them up on the shelves where they might serve as useful information for our customers. It’s nice that they come packaged in skinny-enough columns to fit along the joints where our bookcases meet.
I do have a few helpful little tips for those of you who’d like to try doing this in your library or bookstore: BEFORE you start cutting out any one review, flip that page over to see what’s on the back and make sure you aren’t cutting right through a review that you’d prefer to feature over the one you were originally aiming for. You’ll obviously have to pick and choose between favorites on occasion, as reviews of them will sometimes wind up printed back-to-back in the same column on the same page. Of course, if you’ve got a photocopier or there are multiple subscribers to the same periodical at your store, this problem can easily be remedied. If not, consider writing up your own shelf talker for one of the titles, and clip the printed review for the other.
In the photo below, you can see both PW reviews and hand-written shelf talkers in use in our picture book section. (The horizontal slips are our shelf talkers and the vertical ones are the reviews.)
Another tip: Often reviews wind up starting in one column and ending in another. Cut out the blocks of text for each and paste them together using a gluestick, then trim the edges so they line up — now the whole thing looks like it was one column in the first place! Ta-da!
And my final suggestion: Though it’s sometimes difficult to find space, on each review be sure to write the name of the periodical + date of the issue you clipped it from. This tells your customers the source of the information they’re reading, and it tells YOU approximately how long that same review has been stuck to your store’s shelves, growing old to your regular customers.
There’s no excuse for OLD reviews when you’ve got a new periodical arriving weekly. Except maybe for the excuse of "I got busy and forgot and those magazines piled up for five months before I remembered, let alone found the time, to clip reviews from them, replace the old ones hanging from the shelves, and write a blog post about this very useful practice that I ought to remember to do more often." But of course I wouldn’t know anything about that. ; )
Booksellers, note that PW offers free subscriptions to booksellers in the U.S., so this review-posting trick is one way you can offer value to your customers at no expense to you. (Wouldn’t it be nice if everything we do for our customers was that affordable??)