Spin Me Right ‘Round

Leslie Hawkins -- July 17th, 2017

If you’ve worked in a bookstore, you’ve probably had some experience with (and some opinions about) the ubiquitous floor display known as the “permanent spinner rack.”

Presumably the “permanent” tag differentiates it from cardboard displays, or “dumps,” that usually end up in the recycling bin after a season or so; though I’ve never seen a temporary spinner, cardboard or otherwise, so I sometimes wonder at the nomenclature. But I digress…

For those of you who work as frontline booksellers, do you find spinner racks to be a) wonderful space savers; b) crazy-making engineering challenges; c) eye-catching displays that help sell books; or d) garish eyesores?

Or perhaps all of those at once?

A colleague of mine at another store has an infamous (among her staff and sales reps) hatred of all spinners. Maybe her reason is one I just listed or something else entirely. Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with them.

When I desperately need to make more shelf space and see the free* fixture wooing me from a publisher catalog, I love it! When that same fixture arrives at the store in pieces, usually with confusing assembly instructions and always taking more time to put together than seems reasonable, I absolutely loathe it.

Just this week staff member Rosemary and I had an adventure with a new spinner rack that involved lots of huffing and puffing and sweating and, eventually, throwing down the instruction sheet and going rogue with a hammer, some WD-40, and strategically placed slivers of cardboard to hold up parts of the spinner that just didn’t fit correctly. It’s a lovely spinner, and in this case it seemed well designed. Perhaps it was a fluke of manufacturing or… who knows, but the top center column (Part A) simply wouldn’t go all the way down into the lower center column (Part B) as it was supposed to. Hence the improvising with cardboard. We did get it assembled, however, and so far it’s still standing:

Within two hours of filling the new display we’d sold several books from it. Coincidence? Probably not. As you might expect, I was in love once more.

Of course, then comes the very special challenge of trying to keep some kind of order to the titles in a tall round or multi-sided fixture that children love to spin around like a little merry-go-round. But every love has its ups and downs, eh?

*Free fixture, for those not in the biz, means free with purchase of enough books to fill it. So it can be a bit of an investment up front, but technically the fixture itself is free.

One thought on “Spin Me Right ‘Round

  1. JOHN T SHEA

    Those sort of book carousels are popular in Ireland, where I live, and not just in bookstores. Other stores used to sell books from them too, though I think they were stocked and managed by traveling salespeople from publishers or distributors.

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