I am never quite a woman of the zeitgeist so it took me a while to catch up on the idea that books organised by colour are becoming popular.
(My partner would be shocked and appalled at the thought that there should be anything other than alphabetical and topic organisation in our bookshelves – but I have to say I quite like the idea.)
Anyway, a few weeks ago we had a donation which included some of those old blue Pelican books – much too ropey and brown to put on the shelves and so they are usually sacked forthwith.
The shelves ‘out the back’ where the donations are put, are an interesting place to find all sorts.
On this day there was a broken laptop support ( who on earth would think we could sell that?), several 1500 piece jigsaws ( also not a great seller – anything over 500 pieces and you can forget it as a sales item), a diary from 2011 used for scrap-paper, leftover christmas cards, a book on Arabic cookery from 1982 – and usefully in this case, a ball of string.
I tied up the blue pelicans into bundles of 10 and they sold.
Then, on another day, a man came into the shop and said to the volunteer at the till, ‘I’d like to buy that shelf please.’ ‘What?’, she said. ‘That shelf of books, all of them.’
He was an interior designer….
On a quiet Monday afternoon – we get a good few of those – I re-arranged the ‘old and interesting’ shelves into colours. Blue, green, brown, mixed (for the leftovers) and those with proper leather bindings.
Now, I cannot be sure that this boosted sales but by the following Monday some books which had become old friends over the months (and months) had found new homes.
Sometimes we put all red books in the window, or I do a table display with books which have images of faces on the front, or I do all the front-facing books ( those on stands facing you with their front, rather than their spines) in a colour.
I am no expert on merchandising but it amuses me now and then and whiles away the time.
And last time I checked, our shop was one of the few, if not the only, shop in our area to be in the blue rather than the red against all our Oxfam targets – we like blue.