I try not to inject TOO much of my opinions of the rest of the world into this space, but once in a while I do mention that one of the worst habits in the retail world is the impulse to rear5range a store. “How horrible! The customers know where everything is,” goes the logic. “They can go right to the dairy section and ignore all our wonderful specials in canned bread! Put the dairy section back in a corner, so they have to wander through eight other sections to find it!” They think this increases sales, and so it does…for people who make a living redesigning store spaces.
This is why the Newberry Book Fair has its “anchor” subjects: the big subjects which I expect you to find in more or less the same place every year: Reference and Literature will face each other across Room 6, as Travel and Foreign Language do in Room 1. Some of the smaller sections may need to move, depending on donations, but Art, Cookbooks, and Children’s Books are going to be where you expect them, barring the movement of walls and doors.
So I keep track of roughly how many boxes we have in each category, to see what stays put and what needs to shift. It isn’t JUST to write blogs in which I say “Wow! Twice as many Civil War books this year! Better get your bank accounts in order, Gettysburg collectors!” (Besides, how could I work the bit about the collection of Lebanese dance 78s into an article like that?) It helps us make plans.
For example, even before the Sw3edish Invasion, we knew the Foreign Language section was going to be big. But now we see that the section will be at least one and a half times as large. To make room, one or two of the smaller categories which sit in Room 1 may have to move to Room 2. Which ones? Archaeology and Anthropology always sit together, so they could move, but then they’d be away from Science, unless I shift Science. But so far both Anthropology and Archaeology are bigger than Science, so maybe I could just move….
But we’ve been putting Large Print in Room 2 lately, and since we started putting the Books on Tape and the Great Courses stuff into Large Print, THAT section is twice as big. So we must either move Large Print out, or forget about keeping Science (OR Anthropology OR Archaeology) anywhere near Room 1. We COULD put Large Print into Room 4, near the Fiction and Mystery categories, but people would get the large print mysteries mixed in with the regular print mysteries, killing the last of the book part of Large Print.
Meanwhile in Room 6 (the big room), we do have twice as many Civil War books and a similar jump in Military History. History is going to be just as big as last year, so it looks as if there’s no way we can keep History and Military History in the same row this year. Meanwhile, Religion is trying to sneak up to that record-sized collection of 2014, which wouldn’t matter except that our Judaica section looks to be twice or perhaps thrice as big as last year, so THOSE two categories can’t sit together.
There is no reason, of course, that the Judaica section couldn’t sit next to just about anything, taking in, as it does, so many different topics. (Honest, I never even considered putting that book on Torah Yoga anywhere else.) It could easily split a six-table island with Civil War, sort of a salute to Judah P. Benjamin and other Jewish notables of the War Between the States. I might get fewer complaints, at that, than the year it shared tables with Psychology.
More of this as we approach July. In the meantime, I think the Record section will still be in Room 5, and the Lebanese dance records will be next to the Polish dance records in that long box of 78s. Start saving up.