Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Back of the Store

by Caragh M. O'Brien
When I worked in a bookstore, I was in charge of the romance section, which was way in the back of the store.  It was a big, well-lighted section, but it was basically invisible from the front of the store, and readers had to trek their way past all the cookbooks, self-help books and dictionaries to find their love stories.
“Why?” I asked my manager.  “Why are the romances hidden?  Why not move one of our most popular sections to the front of the store?”
His answer was simple.  “Romance readers are determined buyers. They’ll find their books wherever we put them.”
This was pretty eye-opening to me, naïve and sunny child that I was.  It bothered me, too, like my section was getting dissed, or my romance readers didn’t deserve the convenience of easy-to-access shelves.  Yet my manager was right about the determination.  Romance readers do go wherever they must to find their books, and there’s no such thing as the back of the store online.
Caragh M. O'Brien is the writer of The Vault of Dreamers and other YA novels.

13 comments:

  1. He (the manager) certainly nailed romance readers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheryl ~ He did. He knew a lot about readers, and I learned a lot from him about how books move. Romance readers would routinely come up to the counter with a stack of books, not just one. I'll never forget.
      All best,
      Caragh

      Delete
  2. I love this, because I learned something (I always thought it was JUST to diss romance) and because you're right--there is no back to an online store!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liz ~ I love how everthing's at our fingertips with online bookstores, but for browsing and soaking up the aura of books, nothing can replace a real store. I still think we should have put romances up front!
      All best,
      Caragh

      Delete
  3. True enough, Caragh! I always found them in every bookstore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Becky ~ I always found them, too. Still do. Romance readers are a force.
      All best,
      Caragh

      Delete
  4. The other thing is that romance readers are mostly women. Women walking by all those diet books and cookbooks.

    Surely, someone realized that we'd stop and browse other sections on our way to the romances. In a marketing sense putting romance at the back of the store makes perfect sense!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bonnie ~ You're absolutely right. The team wanted to move traffic through the store past other products.
      All best,
      Caragh

      Delete
  5. This is the same reason they put milk in the back corner of the grocery store. If it was up front you'd grab and go.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is the same reason they put milk in the back corner of the grocery store. If it was up front you'd grab and go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathleen ~ Exactly. These arrangements are no accident.
      Best,
      Caragh

      Delete
  7. I guess all bookstore managers know this. Enjoyed your post, Caragh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joan ~ Thanks, Joan. I wonder where all the bookstore managers and booksellers have gone now. At my old store, we were a curious, diverse bunch, all passionate about books and justice.
      All best,
      Caragh

      Delete

Subscribe to this Blog!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner