192 Books–A Retail Star

Over at Monocle.com there’s an interesting video called “Retail Stars” that features “companies and people who are setting benchmarks we should all take note of.” This particular video (click above link to check it out—192 comes in at the 3:19 mark) features 192 Books, one of my personal favorite stores.

The video does a great job of showing how 192 uses its small space to its advantage—by creating a curated experience of special, interesting books, rather than trying to stock the best-sellers and titles you can get more easily online or at a box store. I’ve written this a million times before, but I honestly believe this is the real charm of an independent, local bookstore. Don’t try and compete on price and the idea of having everything, but instead focus on catering to your clientele and giving them a surprising, rewarding reading experience.

Patrick Knisley in the video: “We’re very small and so we can’t stock everything. And so we think of our collection as a little curated. So the philosophy is that we want you to be surprised with what you find here, and it happens often.”

This all circles back to a phrase that Richard Nash refers to over and again (and which, cough, I guess I do too, since it’s the underlying principle driving the class I teach to my interns): ‘The 20th century was about sorting out supply. The 21st is going to be about sorting out demand.’

It’s unfeasible to try and unpack that here and now, but this could easily be one of those paradigm shifts that changes how the entire industry functions. Thanks to advances in technology and distribution, we all have access to anything we want. The new challenge is helping pair us with the right book, and finding ways to connect readers, creators, and producers.

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