A good bookshop is more than, just, a retail outlet for books, it is a haven for book lovers. When building a better bookshop, you want to create an ambient space designed specifically for the readers who love the type of books your store sells. I was a very lucky youngster, as I grew up in a family bookstore. I was surrounded by codices full of wisdom, in aisle after aisle defined by beautiful wooden bookcases. How a bookshop looks and feels, its fittings and flooring, is as important as the books it carries.
Building a Better Bookshop
That statement may sound overly materialistic to some readers, who may consider that they would be happy reading their favourite books in an airport hangar if they had to. However, when you really consider what a bookshop should offer, it should provide readers with a comfortable space to engage intimately with the book that they are perusing. The red leather Chesterfield couch and chairs, which furnished my family’s bookstore fulfilled that remit. Readers would inhabit this part of the bookshop hungrily with open books on laps. In many ways the shop was like a library, with a deep plush carpet to absorb noise and signage encouraging shoppers to respect the natural quiet of the store.
Book shop furniture must reflect the peace and focus inherent within the act of reading itself. Immersing yourself in the words and sentences of a writer takes time and demands quiet, a good bookshop delivers those requirements for its shoppers. The deeper the content within a text, we are not talking about picture books here, although they too are best served by library like conditions, the more intimacy between reader and written words is required. Essays on wisdom and meaningful issues cry out for silence.
A book is unlike most other consumerables, its magic lies within lines of symbols or code, that must be deciphered by the focused reader. Concepts and big ideas are not communicated well in noisy and distracting settings. Detailed information is not transferred from the written page to the human mind optimally in the midst of chaos, chatter and traffic. Building a better bookshop is a service to knowledge and the sharing of that human wisdom. The serenity within a well-made timber chair, table and bookshelf emanates around a beautiful library or bookstore. Great art on the walls can inspire the desire to feel and know. Well-appointed bookstores contribute to the font of knowledge through their appropriately displayed titles and the ambience they create for their customers.