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STOOPID & HARD-TO-SHELVE monstrosities of format

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Jan 28, 2007, 1:52am Top

You know the ones I'm talking about--those kids' transportation board books with WHEELS (so happy to just roll right off the shelf)...

The books with the cute little "windows" cut out--that have rips on every copy...

Wasn't there one in Architecture about some building, and it was in the shape of that building--which meant a very very tall skinny book?

Obviously, titles are escaping me. But other booksellers--what are your greatest examples of totally STOOPID & HARD-TO-SHELVE formats?

Jan 28, 2007, 11:07am Top

Wasn't there one in Architecture about some building, and it was in the shape of that building

I'm not a bookseller, but my 'favorite' example of this is Tilt . . . which is trimmed at a 20-degree angle, mimicking the Tower of Pisa.

It's a cute gimmick in your hand, but looks decidedly odd on the shelf.

Jan 28, 2007, 1:12pm Top

I may very well be thinking of Tilt. It makes me think--how wide the gulf between the people who come up with the gimmicks and the people who have to sell them.

Jan 28, 2007, 8:37pm Top

We once had a book on Elvis that as about 36" x 24". There was a book this holiday season that was the original plans for the Eiffel Tower that was also very very tall, which also had to be displayed. Then, there was the "Mona Lisa Up Close" that was about twice the size of the actual painting, etc. etc.

5simside First Message
Feb 6, 2007, 12:05am Top

Tilt isn't hard to shelve, it's the same trim size as a regular book. It does look a little odd, though. If I've got the right book (and I may not, because I thought the book was by a different author), the bigger problem with Tilt is the diecut in the front cover, customers always somehow manage to tear all ours up.

Huge paperback children's books are the biggest problem for me... not only do they not fit on the shelf, they don't prop themselves up for faceouts either.

Feb 7, 2007, 1:16am Top

Ever since posting that first message, I keep seeing books whose titles I mean to write down. Except I'm usually on my way somewhere and it never happens.

I'm fortunate enough not to be shelving much these days. Oddly formatted books were always such a torment to me, violating, as they did, my sense of perfect order. Perfectionists shouldn't work retail, but what're you gonna do?

Feb 9, 2007, 12:14pm Top

The problem with Tilt wasn't so much that it would fall off the shelf - I seem to remember those sharp corners denting awfully easily making it look shopworn before its time...

8LSS312 First Message
Feb 9, 2007, 12:33pm Top

The kids books are the worst - the wheels, as you mentioned; the buttons to push that make noise; the juggle balls attached, etc. I also get annoyed front-facing thick mass market books; they just fall right off the shelf, like they're top-heavy or something.

The really tall books can be frustrating - only so many books can go on the top shelve.

9MlleErica First Message
May 20, 2007, 5:58pm Top

Any and all Klutz books. I hate the kids section.

I also hate it when the publishers make a book that has all the little pieces inside, and then do not shrink wrap the stupid thing. I spent an hour last night shrink wrapping 50 of the new Pirateology book/kits that have the pirate ship you put together because a kid got ahold of one and ripped it to shreds.

Edited: May 20, 2007, 6:55pm Top

Bob, I think the book you are thinking of is by Judith Dupre. She has books on architecture out. I found out about her when I reading Henry Petroski's "The Book on the Bookshelf."

The book to which you are referring may be "Skyscrapers." She also has "Bridges." Both are 18" x 8", though obviously one is taller and one is longer. I could see big problems when trying to shelve either one of these.

Here's a link to her books: http://www.judithdupre.com/books/default.htm

May 20, 2007, 8:32pm Top

I totally agree: kids bks are the worst to shelve. Luckily, I don't stray into the kids section very often. I also hate some of the art and architecture bks. One was three bks packaged together in a 3 stair thing. Ugh. I hate shelving mass markets on big shelves and managers expect them to look pretty and stand up straight.

May 20, 2007, 9:01pm Top

If I ran the world, all books would have the title in the same easy to read font, they would be standard sizes, and if the author has written more than one book, they would be numbered.

13marvas First Message
Oct 14, 2007, 2:55pm Top

How about those authors that just never stop writing, not only at least one book a year but fat ones at that, I'm thinking of Penny Vincenzi and Jilly Cooper. Make them stop! or at least don't ever have them on special offer.

Feb 12, 2008, 5:45am Top

I'm with MlleErica (#12), though moreover, the author's name would be printed in an easy to read font in the same place on every book's spine. Oh, and ISBNs and bar codes would be printed on the spines, too.

And one more vote for the kids section as the worst to shelve! I greatly fear the kids section, though not for the books so much as the noise ... oh, and incidents like the kid who tossed his lunch all over some toys last week...

Mar 9, 2008, 7:28pm Top

Oh, go easy on the kid's section! That's my department. Yes, the book sizes make things difficult (I hate the books with wheels, too), but some of the products are so fun. I just wish parents actually watched their children!!! We have spinners that hold the 8x8 books, and those are always completely trashed halfway through the day, ugh.

Mar 28, 2008, 3:34pm Top

Oh, easy to read fonts! I often have to open up Romance novels to the title page in order to decipher the title, as the spine so often has ornate Gothic script...

Sep 4, 2009, 3:55pm Top

The Selected Works of T.S Spivet must be one of the most difficult books to both display and put on the shelves at the moment. It's both square and rather heavy.. And we have the tpb-edition so it has softcovers and won't "stand up" without really good support.

But it's a beautful book and I really like that it's not like "the others" so I'll forgive it :)

Sep 7, 2009, 4:39pm Top

My pet-peeve format is the new taller (venti?) sized mass market paperbacks. If I have to rearrange the mass market bookcases to fit them, I lose a whole shelf of bookspace, which means at least 40 books I can't stock.


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