Monday, April 05, 2010

Build a Better Bookshelf

There has got to be a better way to display books in a library or bookshop than standard vertical shelving. I am never - and as I get older and less nimble, I really mean NEVER - going to stoop down to check out the offerings below, say, lower-thigh level. I used to check out all the books at or above eye-level on a row, then get down on my knees and check out the bottom rows, but I'm just not going to do that anymore. And getting back up isn't as easy or graceful as it once was.

I feel so sorry for those poor books on the two lower shelves. I don't see many people squatting down to have a look. But there they languish. Condemned to obscurity simply because they happen to fall on the bottom shelves alphabetically. There may be some ripping yarns down there, but I am not going to embarrass myself to find out.

It seems to me that some kind of shelving could be designed where you push a button and the shelf would rotate vertically, allowing the peruser to easily access books too high or too low to view. I am not an inventor, but I can't believe that Barnes & Noble or Borders wouldn't invest in the development of accessible shelving. And share that information with libraries. Wouldn't they sell more books that way? (And has anyone ever done a study on the sales of eye-level books vs. sales of bottom shelf books?)

And it would be terrific if the magical shelves were completely noiseless, though people no longer respect the silent spaces of libraries and bookstores as they chatter away on their cellphones. Well, one can only hope.

Just something that crosses my mind every time I hit the library or a bookstore. And don't tell me you've never thought the same thing.

Woe to the poor author whose last name condemns her/him to the lower shelves!


Cousin Linda said...

The grocery stores seem to get it. They've studied their marketing information and that is why you and I do not have to look at Cap'n Crunch and Kung Fu Panda Crunchers! It is all found at knee height, right where the little ankle biters can find it.

MaryB said...

So true, Linda!

Ole Phat Stu said...

The lower shelver get used later, when you're in a wheelchair ;-)

MaryB said...

Ah, I see, OPS. ;-)

Liz said...

I've often wondered about that, if books low down will ever get on the best-seller list. It must give some an unfair advantage.