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Mark Levine

As a lover of American regional fiction, books with a sense of place, I arrange my home bookshelves in a singular manner that is translateable to a window display, i.e. geographical, indeed catographical. Snow Falling on Cedars and Sometimes a Great Notion on the top left; Mattheissen's Watson trilogy and Hurston on the bottom right; Algren, Native Son, and Studs Lonigan in Chicago; the great NYC writers--- Damon Runyon, Irwin Shaw, Richard Yates towards the upper right; and, on a shelf extension just to the right of that, Jonathan Lethem, Alice Hoffman, and Alice McDermott. Alice Munro is,of course, on top of the shelf; and Garcia Marquez et al downstairs.

Carol Fitzgerald

I love your bringing up this topic. When I was at Joseph-Beth Bookselllers in Charlotte, NC attending a reading last September I noticed that they had these very eye-appealing displays --- books collected by color of the book jackets. There were red, blue, green, orange, yellow, etc tables where every jacket had the same color scheme. What I liked is that mystery/suspense/thrillers were mixed with other fiction. Paperbacks were with hardcovers. It definitely encouraged browsing. They also had a wonderful vampire display with The Historian and a number of other titles with vampire themes and some ghoulish accessories, as well. That evening stayed with me. Glad you gave me a chance to write about it!

Deborah Andolino

Recently I took a very large aluminum bowl and filled it with mysteries that contained recipes. I stuck in a long wooden spoon. The sign in front said 'Recipe for Murder'

Deb Andolino
Aliens & Alibis Books
Columbia, SC

Anthony Pomes

I always thought it would be interesting to have a "Good vs. Evil" display containing books either with "Good" in the title or moral virtues at the forefront alongside books either with "Evil" in the title or a more deliciously malicious tone in the writing. In the middle, you could have paperback copies of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" in position (anyone at Vintage reading this?). This might sound a rather Manichean display idea for today's book buyers . . . then again, have you watched reality TV lately? Heroes and villains abound . . .


How about an Olympics/sports theme? One book you might consider is The Games by Patricia McLinn. Pat is a former sports reporter and current editor at the Washington Post. She's also a best-selling romance author. Having read it, I concur with Christine Brennan, sports columnist for USA Today: The Games is "a gold-medal winner!"

Valerie Ryan

One of our all-time faves was called "Obsessions." We featured those books, often with one word titles, that showcase an author's unflagging interest in and dogged research into a single subject: Tea, Coffee, Spices, Turquoise, Mauve, Tulip, Sex, Chocolate, Cocaine, Cod, Salt, Opium - well, you get the idea.

Hut Landon

We once did one titled "You Can't Judge a Book By It's Movie" with good books made into mediocre or bad movies. There were no lack of titles to choose from, but I remember using the display to feature two lesser-known titles that I really loved and whose film versions were less than stellar -- Stranger in the Kingdom and Crazy in Alabama. An easy and fun display...

Joe Drabyak

We have been having a great deal of fun with the OPRAH BOOK CLUB selection of "A Million Little Pieces" and the controversy surrounding that title. We created a winterscape in our front window surrounded with a collection of books on famous con artists, cheats, scams, swindles misdirections and deceptions. All of this is displayed under the heading, SNOWED?!?

Joe Drabyak

OPRAH is such a dominant force in publishing that her mere endorsement or selection to her book club has rocketed many an author from obscurity to the top of the bestseller list. But how does OPRAH make her selections. She obviously has a staff that wades through the 180,000 books published annually. We got to thinking what it would be like to serve on that staff. Obviously there are thousands and thousands of titles that would not make the cut. We created both a window display and an endcap based upon this theme, "OBVIOUSLY NOT AN OPRAH BOOK CLUB SELECTION." We filled this dispaly with some of the silliest, most obscure, and esoteric titles we could find, i.e. CATTLE: AN INFORMAL SOCIAL HISTORY; KNITTING WITH DOG HAIR; SO YOU WANT TO BE A CONCIERGE (from our career development area); HOW TO AVOID HUGE SHIPS; and so on. The funnier the title the better! We also supplemented this with a serious endcap under the heading, "IF WE WERE MAKING THE DECISIONS FOR OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB..." and filled the display with our handselling favorites.

Lelia Taylor

We've had displays featuring vampires, werewolves and other such critters (and are about to do that one again), an endcap with cookbooks related to our genres, such as the Star Wars cookbooks, Nanny Ogg's Cookbook and Sneaky Pie's Cookbook for Mystery Lovers, and our annual Top 40 Bestsellers table. Now we're setting up a Hay-on-Wye display with all the cool books we found in that wonderfully addictive place on a trip last fall.

Carolyn Bennett

What about a display of books that are embarassing to read on the subway or the bus because of the cover art? I'm reading "The Plot Against America" and someone asked me if it was a Nazi book because of the swastikas on both the front and the back. These books should be sold with removable covers (elementary school style) for the easily red-faced.

Mark Bloomfield

One of the best displays I ever saw was at the (soon to close) Cherry Creek location of Tattered Cover in Denver. The theme was "blue" and any title that included the word blue, regardless of category, was included. Of course, many of the jackets themselves were blue in color - and for those of you who know the store - I'll bet you can almost picture it. The mezz was full of these titles, visually arresting and inviting. I've never forgotten it - it must have been more than 10 years ago.

Anne Yarr

At the now defunct Tatnuck Bookseller in Worcester, Ma, we did a Reading in Bed display. It was primarily geared to selling sidelines, including silk pjs and comfy backrests, booklights, lapdesks, woven throws, etc. We wanted to have authors come read from the bed but couldn't find any takers. We also displayed a child's sleighbed with bedtime stories and great books to read aloud and/or together.

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