If you have arranged for a shopfitting contractor to set up your new bookshop, you might be able to make use of the advice presented below.

Ask the shopfitting contractor to fit wide, rather than tall bookshelves

If the building where the bookshop is going to be located has high ceilings, then it might seem sensible to utilise the space provided by these ceilings by fitting very tall bookshelves. However, it might actually be better to ask the shopfitting contractor to build stouter, wider shelves instead. There are a couple of advantages to doing this.

Firstly, it could curb the frequency with which customers need assistance to pick up specific books. For example, if a book a person wants to look at is sitting on the top shelf of a nine-foot bookcase, then they will probably have to ask an employee to get this book for them. If this happens all day long each time the shop is open, your employees could fall behind on their individual tasks, which could then lead to your bookshop being run in a way that leads to fewer sales and less efficiency. By opting for bookshelves that are wider than they are tall, your customers should be able to help themselves to whichever books catch their eye without having to involve your employees in this process.

Secondly, if a customer wants to take a peek at a book that's on the top of a very tall shelf and they cannot find an employee who can assist them, they may take matters into their own hands and try to clamber up the bookshelf or use the employees' bookcase ladder. In either case, they could fall, get injured and sue the bookshop. Conversely, if customers never have to do more than stretch upward slightly when they want a book, the likelihood of these incidents happening will be very low.

Decide how you want your customers to behave in the bookshop

Before the shopfitting contractor finalises the layout, you need to decide what type of bookshop you want to run and how you want customers to behave when they're in it. For example, if you want your bookshop to be a cosy place that looks and feels like someone's living room, then you should ensure that the contactor outfits the shop with little nooks (each of which can comfortably fit one or two reading chairs), which will be surrounded by bookshelves to make them feel cosier and private.

Conversely, if you don't really want the customers to treat your bookshop like a library, then it might be best to give the bookshop a layout that does have any hiding spots where readers can spend lots of time. Instead, you should do away with the idea of any seating areas at all and make sure that the shelving units are stout and wide so that customers cannot duck behind tall units in order to read.