Bookshops vary in shape and size. Yet they must be organized well in order for the customers to receive great service. Hence, part of the organization of a bookshop involves square-foot space and intended activities.
The shape of the bookshop will vary from place to place. Some places will have a solid square or rectangle shape within them. Other bookshops will have L-shape areas or multiple floors. Which ever the case may be for you, it is important to plan your space with scale-measurements of the square-footage and that of your desired furnishings; if possible, try to use a program or app for space planing and renovations.
Coffee / Tea Shop
Having a coffee / tea shop area is a great idea for a bookshop. It can be a separate room with a wide entry way or a set area with a counter or order window to a kitchen. Keep in mind, that such a shop will require a large footprint of square-footage. Hence, plan well for the kitchen and preparation space, a place to take orders, and sitting areas for your customers.
Some of the essentials for the kitchen are a refrigerator for cold teas, cold coffee, and dairy products. You will also need a wash station for your baristas and a three-compartment sink that meets local health codes. In addition, if possible, install a proper filtration system to provide good quality water to both your machines and the drinks you prepare. You will also need cabinets and / or kitchen shelf-racks for storage of your supplies, counter space for your coffee machines, tea brewers, and blenders ... not to mention, space for preparing the drinks for your customers.
Outside your work area, you will need a small kitchen shelf or self-serve station for customers to add some sweeteners, choice of milk or cream, stirrers and straws ... as well as napkins. If you would like to take it further, consider offering some pastry treats for your customers as well.
A space for taking orders can be complex. For starters, you need to have a legible and large-print menu that can be read by all customers; it is best to have all drinks on one board or location. Secondly, you need to have the person taking the orders be knowledgeable of the products but also the allotted combinations for your drinks; you never know how particular a customer may be with their drink. It is best to have orders taken at a counter and paid for first, then forward the order to the attending barista. If you try to make it so that the barista takes the order, then the customer has to go and tell the cashier the order or the cashier has to look it up; it gives a non-professional appearance of your system and the delays may cause you to loose customers. Depending on your available space, you can make pastry snacks at the bookshop or have them bought and brought in from a reliable vendor, the fresher the better. You should also try to have a dedicated area for people to sit down and drink their coffee while reading or writing at a table that sits two or set tables back to back to accommodate groups of 4 or 6 people as well.
Having a small stage area, whether its a few square feet or a long platform area, is nice for presenting special events. Your area can be an actual stage with a few inches of height, tiled area (different from your other floor color or material), or perhaps an area rug that differentiates one space from the other. The stage area may serve for poetry or book readings or feature area for a spokesperson of a book club or group meeting. In addition, the stage area can serve to feature musicians performing live music or artists and their work. Furthermore, you can use the stage area to present exhibitions such as local writers and artists (their book or art work), banned books through history, or a seasonal book collection.
Your stage area should be properly equipped to serve all event needs. For instance, for music, art, and speaking events, be sure to have enough electrical outlets and have them spread out. This is good to have if you plan to have a small ensemble, additional lighting, and projector, television, computer or tablets used. You should also plan on having a small podium or several types of music stands that may be used for holding both sheet and binder music, books, or lecture notes and portfolios. Depending on your event, you should have some appropriate seating. For instance, wood or metal stools work well for musicians, orators, and lecturers. You may also consider having some chairs available, try to have some without armrests; these work best for musicians, especially guitar players. Your chairs should also be firm but of comfortable material that allows a person to sit on for an hour or two without much discomfort.
Two good reasons to visit a bookshop are to purchase books of interest and to sit down to enjoy reading through them. I encourage you to include reading areas in your floor plan.
Some reading areas can be comfortable, perhaps with a set of sofa chairs, wing-back chair, and a small corner or coffee table to put down a drink, and throw in an object of interest such as a globe or metal art piece ... as well as a small area rug. You may also decide to set some reading nooks. These nooks would do well if placed in corners of the bookshop or in between bookcases, like one that may be found by the window seat of a living room or bedroom. Furthermore, be sure to provide the essentials of electrical outlets for a lamp, laptop or tablet, and charging a cell phone. You should also have a small table or shelf space for placing a nice cold or hot drink.
In the case of 2, 4, or 6 persons, a table for two may be used alone or back to back with other tables. However, you can also purchase or make a table that will seat 4 or 6 persons at a time. Such a large area can be set for people who gather for a small book club, literacy, and study group meetings.
Bookcases, Book-Tables, and Book-trucks
Selling books takes hard work, but having the right furnishings helps lighten the work load. Some of the furnishings can be, but not limited to bookcases, book-tables, and book-trucks. Each furnishing serves its purpose or even duo purpose .... it can house the books for you or it can display them as well. Depending upon the size of your space and location within the bookshop, your choices vary ... and this is good too.
For starters, the most basic unit of furnishing is the bookcase. It can have fixed or adjustable shelves, vary in color and material, it can house a lot of books. The bookcase can be fasten to a wall or back to back to form one unit. If you choose to fasten a bookcase to the wall, be sure to use the right anchors for the material of the wall; if you don’t, it may wobble, come loose and fall down. Furthermore, if you rent your bookshop unit space, be sure to get permission from the landlord from the start, otherwise you may find yourself in a bind and having to re-plan your space again.
If you choose to fasten a bookcase back to back to form one unit, be sure that the base of the two bookcases is wide enough as to not to tip over by the weight of the books or someone leaning on it; especially if it is not anchored or placed by a wall. Furthermore, be sure to use long screws and extra material to fasten one bookcase to the other; this will give it stability and strength. In addition, this type of unit can serve as intermediate dividers for reading areas and semi-privacy as well.
Another popular unit used for books is the book-table. The book-table is a little different from your standard table. The most notable difference is that it has sides that extent upward, like a box. Books can be placed flat and in stacks to display the covers without having them fall or knocked-off the table. Books can also be placed as in a bookcase, with the spines facing outward ... in our case upward; this works great for children and people who cope with a disability. This table also serves well in featuring books that are on sale, clearance, seasonal or special interest. There is also another book-table that exists for both libraries and bookshops. This table can have the same shape as the later, but also has a center area that holds a hutch-like piece that resembles a table-top enclosed podium. The slants of this hutch-like piece serve great to place books on an angle that displays their covers. Sometimes this hutch-like piece can be used with a regular table or custom made for the table of your choice.
The book-truck or book-cart is a great peace of shelving to have in your bookshop. The book-truck may be used to help your work in sorting through new arrival of books as well as withdrawals. It can also serve as a second sets of hands for organizing and cleaning your shelves. Speaking of shelves, you can use the book-truck to house books that you have set-apart for special orders or to sell books that are on sale, special interest, seasonal, or clearance. The best part of having a book-truck is that you can use it for many functions as well as in many different locations as needed.
Last, but not the the least, the check-out counter. For this unit, much of the size and shape will depend on what you desire to do with it. Perhaps you want a point-of-sell system, credit card machine on the side, as well as flyers and business cards, plus gift cards to be available at the front of the check-out counter. You may also use your check-out counter to sell book paraphernalia such as bookmarks, book-lights, marking pens, pencils or highlighters, or even a donation jar to benefit a special need or non-profit organization as well. Be sure to decide all that you need and would like to have at the check-out counter, otherwise, your customers may find it to be too cluttered to even place their items of purchase.
Space for Moving and Disabilities.
One of the biggest and most necessary spaces is that of the passage way. The space of the passage way can lead you to an office, storage, or restroom area, yet it needs to be open and clear of all obstructions. Another reason for doing so, is to comply with local city and county ordinances for emergency exists; all available routes need to be clear of obstructions and exits clearly marked. In addition, the passage way between bookcases, book-tables, and book-trucks also needs to be surrounded by open space for your customers to look at the books from top to bottom. If the space is not present, your customers will find themselves crowding each other or having to avoid that area until the space is available. Furthermore, if your space is too small, it may discourage customers from spending time at your bookshop. Please take this space into consideration, especially in areas where space varies, like around book nooks or dinning tables. These are areas where a person extends their chair out as they sit down and at times may place a bag or coat on the back of a chair or next to their table. If the passage way space is not calculated well, they will all be an obstruction for your customers.
Not all customers are able adjust their movement as they walk through your bookshop, some have disabilities. People with disabilities for standing or moving around sometimes need more space to get from place to place; especially around a bookshop. In addition, there are some people who may need to use a walking cane, a walker unit, or a wheel chair. Sometimes the person with the disability is also larger than the average person in size, and they need more space to get around, and look at books. With this in mind, plan to accommodate this population of customers as well as adhere to local, country, state, and national standards. Don’t wait until you have a person with a disability to make their way in through the door of your bookshop, plan ahead and they will love you for it.
In closing, organizing and planing the bookshop space is hard work. Yet, if done well, its diverse areas can serve many functions for both you and your customers. It will also allow your bookshop to serve books, drinks and a place to gather for reading and special events as well.
© copyright 2005 - 2022;
R. A. Gómez