Visiting and working in a bookshop can be a great experience. You can discover new topics of interest, find some classics, and sit down to read a book or two as you sip on a cup of tea or coffee. However, much of your experience will be dependent on the organization system that is used at the bookshop.
One of the easiest ways to organize a group of books is by topic. You can gather all the books by topic on a shelving unit. You can also choose to display the spine of most of the books and select a few to have the cover facing outward. In addition, you can place items of interest that pertain for that topic, like a model of a car for the topic of transportation or plant for the topic of gardening. In essence, when you and a customer pass by a particular topic, both of you will know that you have reached the right section for the book of interest.
Shelving books by topic is not limited to visual presence. You can also organize books for a particular topic by their most popular form of request: publisher, author, title and sub-title, year of publication, and usage (reference or specific sub-topic). You can choose to dedicate a bookcase to a particular topic, you can even be more specific as to the branches of that topic within a shelf. The more specific your branches extend themselves from the trunk, the easier it will be to find a book on a particular topic and sub-topic. Using labels on all of your shelving units will help in doing so.
Using authors as a form of organization can be useful for some topics. One the most useful topics is biographies. This topic can be sub-divided between biographies and autobiographies (ones written by the authors themselves or the content is of their own accord). For this category, it will help the person who is looking for the life-story of a particular person in finding books on both their personal story as well as that of collected external works such as periodicals and book articles.
Using authors as a form of organization is also useful when you manage a collection of books by an author that has published many books and continues to do so year after year. If at your bookshop, you find yourself frequently looking for a specific author, you may consider making a specific section for them and other authors of a similar nature. This will help you find a requested book quicker, but also introduce the customer to other works of the same author of which they may have yet to read.
A note on authors. Sometimes there are authors who use a hyphen in their names. Other times an author may first use their maiden surname, and upon marriage, begin to use their married surname. Yet others may use both their maiden and marriage surnames. Which ever the case, be consistent in placing the books of that author in the same grouping, and be sure your supporting staff is aware of this as well. This can make a big difference when looking for a book that a customer requests and they are not aware of the name changes; especially if the book is a reprint and now holds the new surname.
There are times when organizing a shelf unit by topic or author does not work well for a customer; it has to be organized by book type. A book type is an eclectic way of grouping books. For instance, coffee table books are known to capture the attention of people because of their large size, vivid graphic or photo display on the cover, and special interest, like lighthouses of the world, or a visual history of coffee in the Americas. Another book type can be gift books, which usually have a small grouping of pages, sometimes are highly illustrated, and at times have a series of short-stories or pleasant thoughts.
Another book type is the journal. It is not a specific book per sae, but it is something that may mature into the content of a book someday. Journals vary in size, shape, and binding, as well as lined or blank-page paper. It is a good idea to group journals together. Finally, you can group books that are on sale, seasonal, clearance, or featured as well; do remain consistent with your book type groups.
Stock and Inventory
The size of your bookshop and the shelving units you use will determine the number of books your bookshop can hold. If your bookshop is small, it will hold a good number of books, and you may get to know the majority of the titles, topics, and authors of those books. Because of its size, it may not be much trouble for you to physically check the shelving units for a requested book. However, if your bookshop is large, the percentage of the knowledge of your books will be much less. You will need a system to help you keep track of the books you have in stock as well as their topics and authors. Your system can incorporate both lists and databases, but without a point of sales system, you will have to work hard to keep track of all of your books.
A point of sale system plays multiple roles. It can help both you and customers find a book faster by the requested topic or author, perhaps the section as well. It can also help keep track of your incoming inventory of stocked books on the sales floor and storage. Furthermore, it will help you also keep track of those books that are selling at a high rate and need to be reordered; not to mention, those books that are taking up space on the shelf and need to be moved out. Consider the point of sale system as an assistant that can be there for you throughout the day, but also for your supporting staff.
In closing, both you and your customers can have a great experience at the bookshop. The type of organization systems that you use will help in obtaining this experience. In addition, it will help both you and your supporting staff in managing an effective bookshop for your customers.
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R. A. Gómez