- Published: 22 October 2019 22 October 2019
One of the things her ladyship, the editor, does miss from her days working in a bookstore is the store displays. The displays are one of the places where the ostre staff really get to express themselves.
And no, she isn't just referring to the occasional window display where the store goes all out on the decorations to create something stunningly beautiful. Those are wonderful, naturally, but her ladyship has always found that the more meticulously beautiful the display, the less willing she is to disturb it in order to pick up a book and look at it.
Her ladyship is, rather, inordinately fond of the more mundane bookshop displays -- the tables with piles of books covering every square inch. The shelves of faced-out titles, often crammed a little more full than they were designed for. All the little unclaimed spaces in the shop that have room for a bookstack and a little easel to hold the top one upright.
Modest, perpetually slightly askew from customers picking books up and putting them back slightly off-center -- for these displays inviting the passerby to stop and look and touch and pick up and open -- the table displays in a bookshop are usually collections of books that the store staff itself likes or thinks their customers will want.
Or they want their customers to want. When her ladyship worked in a bookshop she used to regularly place favorite books on display next to some bestselling title, her own subliminal suggestion to the customers that her favorites "belonged" with the bestsellers.
There isn't a bookseller anywhere on the planet who hasn't done something similar with the displays in their shop. And regardless of whether the sign on the display says "New Releases" or "Gifts for Mom" or "Beach Reading" there isn't a table display in any indie bookshop ANYWHERE that doesn't have, whatever its ostensible theme, a couple books on it that the store staff made excuses to include just because they wanted people to find and buy and read them.
It's her ladyship, the editor's rule number 1 about independent bookshops: Always check out the displays.
Read independently, and shop local.