Thanksgiving, as you may have noticed, is tomorrow. One thing I’m thankful for is having some great staffers working for me. Getting ready for the holiday season presents a world of challenges for us but which of them, I am sure you are wondering, constitutes the biggest challenge for our staff. Well, the single hardest thing for them is working out how to absorb all the new items we receive during October and November, and still display them in a dynamic way. We have limited space and books and sidelines simply do not sell if they are not displayed to the nines. As my assistant manager Karin Schott put it, “One requirement of being a bookseller is to have some spatial reasoning ability.”
Most situations yield to a quick Darwinian solution; however, many times it is clear that something serious has to give, and that a creative solution is called for. We do not despair. I am against that. Instead we hold a strategic, mobile conference, marching in a group around the store, floating ideas and taking measurements.
Here is an example of a recent dilemma. With the release of the latest Wimpy Kid book I ordered a mixed backlist display, not necessarily expecting to use the physical display itself. When we put it together, however, everyone liked it and wanted to use it. Personally, I felt that it was worth the effort to try to find a place for it because of its ability to attractively display backlist titles over time, and because the three-dimensional birds on it were so great. Nonetheless it was quite wide and tall. There was simply no place to put it out in the open floor without creating visual problems, foot traffic issues, and preventing UPS and Fed Ex hand trucks from getting into the receiving area. It was going to have to go against a wall somewhere. Things looked bleak but we refused to believe that there wasn’t a display unit or table somewhere along the wall that couldn’t be moved someplace else within the store.
After a good deal of onsite discussion and measurements a plan was reached. A low rectangular table near the door could be placed in a space next to the Wind-Up display near the cash register, while the rolling cart there would fit behind the window up front. In the space where the table was a black wooden display unit from our children’s alcove would be moved and the Wimpy Kid unit would go into the children’s alcove against the wall.
Not only did it work, but all the impacted displays were the better for it. Just one more staff triumph in a long line of them running up to the holidays this year. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, all of you ShelfTalker readers!