Shopkeeping: Stories, Advice, and Observations

Princeton Architectural. May 2024. 176p. ISBN 9781797228761. $24.95. BUS
Miller, who owns a bookshop focused on design, offers a treatise on the aesthetics of shopkeeping. With the same attention to detail as Jun’ichirō Tanizaki’s 1933 essay “In Praise of Shadows,” Miller walks readers through small stores, including the one he owns in Seattle and that bears his name. The shops he features are located in the United States and in Europe; he spotlights them to illustrate how displays, specialized checkout bags, and greetings from shopkeepers are essential for independent retailers. In a time when chain stores are chasing online retailers in terms of speed and ease of returns, this book is a reminder that stores need to evolve around what they sell. Echoing S.R. Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science, this book focuses on matching inventory and layout to customers.
VERDICT This study of the aesthetics and practices of small stores will appeal to owners of brick-and-mortar small businesses and to readers who love shopping at independently owned stores, whose allure often cannot be replicated online or in massive retail spaces.
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