Dave Thomas writes about self organising bookstores:
“Say you had a store where you encouraged people to reshelve things. You’d have broad sections (Computers, Photography, and so one), and some cardboard labels you could put on the shelves themselves. People could write their own labels, create their own sections, and move books as they saw fit. If someone really likes a book, they could turn it face out to show others they approve. They could even move the books onto display tables. Not sure if a Photoshop title belongs in Photography or Computers? Put a copy in both sections.
Would such a store work, or would it just be chaos? I frankly don’t know. But I suspect that people felt that user-organized sites such as wikis wouldn’t work, and Wikipedia and friends have proven that wrong. Flickr and del.icio.us have shown that tagging is a great tool for organizing content. And all these sites have an additional, emergent, property that would be wonderful to see in a bricks and mortar storeâ€”they allow serendipitous discoveries. You come across things that delight you that you wouldn’t have thought to look for.
Wouldn’t that make it worth going to a real store again?”
There are at least two places I would love to see this put into practice:
- The University of Mauritius library where there are a lot of (old) books but extremely badly shelved according to me,
- Editions Le Printemps where there are a lot of recent (and cheap) computer science books except that many of them are easy to miss because they are shelved horizontally instead of vertically (if you understand what I mean)