“Is there any chance that I will ever talk you into letting me alphabetize this shelf?” This question was posed with pain and desperation from one of my employees. I took a deep breath and told her she had no chance whatsoever of convincing me to change the arrangement of the books.
I remember when I arranged the books in this manner for the first time because one of my other employees stopping at the shelf a little time later. He waved his hand several times at the books. Finally, he looked at me in an exasperated way and said, “What is this? How does this happen? Really?” He too was itching to rearrange them in the order of the author’s last name. I smiled and told him to leave them be as the rainbow arrangement pleased me very much.
Did I consciously make this change to annoy my staff or effect buying patterns? Nope. I had no preconceived notions about this arrangement prior to doing the deed. I truly was mindlessly ordering the books to entertain and please myself. When my employee challenged me on the books ordered in this way, I was immensely pleased I had found a fun and sneaky new way to tease a few people, similar to the haphazard way the refrigerator magnets are tossed on the chimney of the store’s gas fireplace.
The books my staff and I crossed swords about are the Word Cloud Classics. They are brightly colored with embossed designs cut into the soft leatherish covers of these flexi-bound books. This series has a great price-point, and the customers love the look and feel of the books.
It was several months before I rearranged the other classic volumes on the shelf, so as not to be too much of a nuisance, and to test the results of how customers would react the rainbow arrangement.
Oh boy, did they react! The change was immediately noticeable. Customers walking by turned their head to look at the rainbow arrangement and many stopped to investigate the books. Sales of all of the books on the shelf improved, but most especially the Word Cloud Classics.
Since the original arrangement of the flex-bound classics, I have rearranged all of the lovely classic editions on the same shelf with the rainbow pattern within each series of books. The other volumes on this shelf are: the hardcover & leather Canterbury Classics, the Penguin fabric hardcover Classics & Galaxy Classics, as well as a selection of Knickerbocker Classics.
Beautiful books are treasure to bibliophiles. They love to see them, to touch them, and most especially to have them decorating their personal shelves. Lovely book covers lend themselves to artful arrangement, and for us here at A Good Book, we are all now in unified agreement that customers love an artful arrangement of books, especially a rainbow arrangement.
Evelyn Nicholas is the mischevious, marvelous owner A Good Book Cafe in Sumner, WA. Stop in to admire her creative shelving, wonderful staff, and great selection.