I just finished reading an article in the local rag that originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal. It states that in an effort to jump-start sales, Borders Bookstores is "sharply increasing the number of titles in displays on shelves with the covers face-out. Because that takes up more room than the traditional spine-out style, the new approach will require a typical Borders superstore to shrink it's number of titles by five percent to ten percent."
Some think the move is long overdue, including John Deighton, editor of the Journal of Consumer Research. "Breakfast cereals are not stacked end of box out," says Deighton. "You want your product to be as enticing as possible." The article also points out how Border's new strategy reflects "a growing view that store customers can be intimidated by too great a selection." According to the story, too many titles (or options) can be potentially paralyzing to the potential book customer. "People don't want choice, they want what they want," says Deighton. "And what they want is sometimes constructed for them in the store by the attractiveness of what's on offer." Obviously this is not good news for mid-list or struggling new authors. It may mean even less space in the Civil War section unless, of course, you're a name-brand author offering up the latest Lincoln or Gettysburg tome.
"And the public wants what the public gets" - "Going Underground" - The Jam