Book Merchandising and IA – Louis Rosenfeld: “My colleagues and I had the pleasure of being given a tour of Store #1 by its manager, Joe Gable, who, with Tom and Louis Borders, essentially invented the concept of the book superstore back in the early '70s. Curmudgeonly Joe explained the relative prominence of each of the three tiers of books laid out on the tables. He described how subject areas were carefully positioned in relation to each other. He talked about balancing what customers knew they wanted with books they hadn't considered before. And he pointed out how local buying habits and demographics made each Borders store's merchandising layout unique. I can't tell you the specifics, but I can say that it was almost a pure and yet tangible form of information architecture. Book merchandising is dependent on information retrieval, marketing, and physical architecture, among other things. Fascinating combo.
Where am I going with this? Maybe that the out-of-work information architects out there should consider working in a bookstore as a good two-year plan, with obvious IA educational perks, until the economy rebounds. Maybe that I'd like to work in a bookstore. Maybe that I wish Borders had been smarter. And maybe that we all need to learn more about retail merchandising…”