Many bookstores keep shelves tidy using a divide-and-conquer approach. Stores are divided into sections, which are then assigned to various booksellers. While dusting and straightening, books are alphabetized, holes are corrected with face-outs, and backlists are maintained.
This is great for keeping sections in order, but not so great in terms of broadening staff horizons.
Take 300 Seconds today and plan for a Section Swap. If Ann traditionally maintains the children’s section, switch her to cookbooks for a day. If Ruth ensures that the history section is up to date, have her change to fiction. If Sarah is moved from music to juvenile picture books, she can look to see if any of her tried and true hand-sells are missing. And maybe moving Rachel from education to staff picks might offer a different perspective than a bookseller who’s vertically challenged.
Pulling staff out of their comfort zones will not only provide fresh eyes for the store, but also fresh titles for the booksellers.