Use The Smallest Shelf We Got!

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This part of the mighty UnBeige Duo is headed back from a weekend of fun and remembering what it’s like to drive 45 minutes to get anywhere else, as he travels from old home, Phoenix, to new home, Chicago. So that said, here are some interesting pieces, without a lot of the extremely obnoxious banter you’ve come to expect, and skip, from this particular writer. So first off is this terrific essay by Ellen Lupton in the online AIGA Journal, “How Books Are Sold.” It starts off with the standard fare of how chains operate and what’s happened to the indie stores, but then it moves on into the turf relevant to UnBeige, and that’s when it really gets good. Here’s some:

Amazon.com has been good for publishing diversity, and it also happens to be a great place to buy design books. B&N has a poor selection of books in the design field–just a narrow shelf area (and usually no tables at all). In contrast, Amazon offers thousands of design titles and keeps the books available for a long time. According to Steven Heller, the world’s most prolific design author, the accessibility of design titles online is basically a good thing, but it has a deleterious effect as well: “Since Amazon and B&N exist online, buyers for the chains feel that people who want design books will migrate to these sites, so the stores do not have to buy a lot of stock.”