Neat organization at new NYC bookstore


21 Responses to “Neat organization at new NYC bookstore”

  1. ckd says:

    Datawhat (#17): Well, there was that saxophone track that Ron McNair was supposed to record during his flight on Challenger for Jean-Michel Jarre. That wouldn’t have been recorded “on” the planet….

  2. Emily (daturazoku) says:

    Ditto the Powell’s Travel Bookstore in Portland, OR. Glad to see NYC finally caught up with the times. :P

  3. DMK says:

    BTW, “Idlewild” used to be the name of JFK airport in the New York City borough of Queens.

  4. Avram says:

    JenJen, it’s a travel bookstore. What makes you think they stock spacey science fiction at all?

  5. jjasper says:

    Last time I went to Ireland, I got a few cookbooks and a copy of Dublin Noir (mystery anthology) before I left. This is a great idea.

  6. Enochrewt says:

    I don’t know about this one. It’s like organizing your MP3 collection by genre, great in theory, until you try and catalog stuff done by David Bowie, Lyle Lovitt or some other “genre transcending” artist (AMG’s words, not mine).

    Then you get to the electronic music, and realize that there’s a hundred sub-genres and the drum and bass doesn’t really go with the true techno, or that nu-skool breaks doesn’t really have much to do with happy hardcore etc.

    Or should you split country music into two sections, post-1980 and pre-1980?

    You get what I mean, this seems like a hassle to set up for books, and potentially a hassle for the customers as well (It should be in the UK section!

  7. just craig says:

    Thanks for the tip! Checked out the store this weekend and they not only have great stuff; the space itself is really beautiful, as you can see from the photos on the website:

  8. LB says:


    Except that I don’t know how a person could be in two places at once, and the same goes for fictional people in books, unless they’re Wolverine.

    Besides, if a book deals with multiple locations, they could always order multiple copies and shelve each copy under one of the appropriate countries.

  9. krex says:

    scratch the petty critique and give it up for a new independent bookstore. something I think all can agree we don’t have nearly enough of.

  10. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    LB @2, unless I missed that issue, Wolverine can’t be in two places at once. You want Jamie Madrox.

  11. pcamps says:

    Not very new I’m afraid!

    The Altair travel bookstores (in Spain) have been doing this for at least 13 yrs, as well as Daunt Books in London.

  12. jgodsey says:

    The Globe Corner Bookshop has been shelving like that for decades. In the original store on State Street in Boston – the bottom floor was all New England, and the second flood had all the books of the world arranged in circumference around the room as they are on the planet. Very cool.

  13. acb says:

    The Travel Bookshop in Notting Hill, London, does something similar as well.

  14. scottfree says:

    I think LB has it right on with the multiple locations for books, except it would be a huge hassle for bigger shops to organise.

    I guess you could have a scanable tag on a book indicating which section the customer got it from, so you know where you need to restock, but that’s the kind of thing people get worried about: the little consumer micro-tags coming out that document an absurd amount of information about customers without their permission. Plus people pick up books and reshelve them at random–I’ve had a lot of trouble with bookshops reading something in stock but being unable to find it because it was either stolen or misplaced.

    Generally though, I love the idea of creative organisation, even if this isn’t the most out there example. For instance the Tate Modern may not be the most radical museum ever, but I definitely appreciated how different paintings seemed to mean different things when classed according to subject or colour etc. as opposed to period or school as in most museums. The world is a dynamic place where things tend not to fall into clearly demarcated categories, and I’m not sure the benefits gained by efficiency outweigh the flat monotony of pretending things can be easily and definitively placed in categories. When you really need a book no matter how a place is organised you almost always need to ask the staff to look it up on the computer to find out where it is, so might as well make browsing into an experience, rather then a failed attempt to facilitate a customer’s trip from a to b, no book to book to door.

  15. MonkeyRobo says:

    As PCamps sez, Daunt Books in London has been doing this for a while — see . It’s a marvellous shop.

  16. JJR1971 says:

    Very cool idea, indeed.

    It would make a good idea for a temporary travel-related display in a public library, too.

  17. MarinaMartin says:

    Very cool concept, even if it’s been done before.

    A random series of events led me to read “Prague” by Arthur Phillips (which is not about Prague at all, but rather about Budapest) shortly before my first trip to Hungary. Since he lived in Budapest himself before writing the book, all the places the characters visited were real. This made my trip to Budapest extremely enjoyable, as I could avoid tourist traps but have my own private guided tour.

  18. JEM says:

    My mom has being doing this for years. It’s bloody confusing if you don’t know where an author is from!

  19. jenjen says:

    I bet it prompts some interesting staff meetings. Where to put Tolkien. Or spacey scifi?

  20. DataWhat says:

    As a former record store employee, I can only imagine the nice serendipity for the casual browser and the hair-pulling trauma for the clerk when somebody asks for a title.

    Bookworm: “Hi, I looked under Literature for ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ but didn’t find it. Do you have it in stock?”

    Frustrated poet with an English Degree behind the counter: “Hmmm…the computer says we have one copy, let’s check the Irish travel section, the Catholicism rebellion section, The ‘Desmond From LOST’s Fave Reads‘ endcap, behind the returns desk, and any number of other kooky places to see if we can track it down.”

    If your future blind date’s Facebook page says she’s really into William Carlos Williams and you want to do some pre-date cramming (so to speak) where do you start?

    Then again, when I was at Tower Records we always joked about putting every single CD in alphabetical order and calling it “World” music since it was all recorded on the planet, so I may have thought about this junk too much.

  21. Swizzlebat says:

    If you like that idea, you should check out the titles from Whereabouts Press; they’re a tiny publishing company in Berkeley that produces what they call “literary traveler’s companions;” whole books of the literature from a particular country (or iconic city) in translation.

    Last time I checked, they have titles on China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Prague, Amsterdam, Greece, and Japan. Definitely worth a look—you might even be able to find them at Idlewild.

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