It's an unfortunate part of the bookselling business that we can't face out every book. There just isn't enough shelf space. So we (and our customers) get used to looking at the books' spines. Grabbing the book you need should be a piece of cake for a numbered series like Junie B. Jones. Right?
But hold on a second.
Let's take a closer look at those three red books in the middle:
They're not the same! That's volume 5, The Yucky Blucky Fruitcake, followed by volume 6, That Meanie Jim's Birthday. And they're just about the same color, so they're easily confused unless you take the time to look closely.
Guardians of Ga'hoole provides us with another stellar example:
Again, let's look at that a little more closely:
Volumes 9, 10, AND 11: all the same color. What was that designer thinking?
And don't even get me started on the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz.
These spines all look alike.
That's why we usually shelve them face out:
There. That's better. They look like different books this way! Although it would be a big help to us if these books were numbered, like any other series. I've had to resort to shelf talkers to tell customers which volume comes first.
Captain Underpants is another series that gives us shelving problems. Why? Well, it's not the colors blending together. Each volume is a different bright color. And the front cover tells you exactly which volume it is. So what's the problem?
The volume number is nowhere to be found on those spines. Would it have been so hard to add a simple digit?
Hope you enjoyed this edition of What Booksellers Wish Publishers Knew.
What irritates YOU in a bookstore? Is the layout confusing? Is it hard to tell where one age level ends and another begins? Do you have trouble finding the book you want?