Thursday, May 22, 2014

Conversations With : Brent

You remember Brent, right?  Well, we thought we'd check in and find out a little bit more about his world of books...
Q. You have a whole room devoted solely to books in the Main Shop, and floor to ceiling shelving space in the Modern Shop.  How do you manage such a high volume of skus?  Is it overwhelming?

A. If you think about all those books at one time- yes, it would be impossible to get anything done.  Fortunately, the two (Maria is the other book buyer) of us don't- we take the books on one company at a time, then one book at a time.  Every single book will get looked over in the computer at least once a month.  Additionally, we both go to the shops every day to look at what's come in.  Is it selling?  Do we need more?  Do we have too many?  Do we need to move some from one shop to the other. 

Q. Do trends in fashion, home décor and current events affect books the same way as other departments?

A. There are changes in book design that slowly (and sometimes quickly) come over the book industry.   You'll see a lot of books with very similar covers or type and etc. for a year or so, then a new look comes in.   However, other than documenting the changes in society, I haven't noticed a huge shift in the way books look.  After all, you have to be able to hold them to read them.  Publishers generally accept those limits. Of course, e-books might change all this.

Q. So many people come to the shop for the books alone- why do you think this is?

A. Tastes, inclination, interests- dictate what folks will be drawn to in any store.  We try to offer as wide a selection of visually-oriented books we can.  We really do curate the shops' stock so that there can be something of value for everyone.  I think that is repaid by the number of dedicated patrons we have.  I try not to buy to my tastes (I'm sure I violate that from time to time).  I feel we have a unique collection that displays an inclusiveness not usually seen in a museum book store.

Q. What is one of the longest running books in the assortment? 

A. The most long-running skus will be our fine museum publications that deal with the collection- foremost being the Essential Guide.  You can't really equal that kind of longevity with any trade publication, due to their planned obsolescence (no book goes on in the same form forever).

Q. Can you give us a hint what's coming out in the Fall Catalog? 

A. Fur.  Lots of fur.

Q. What are three things you couldn't live without?

A. I'll except my wife from this. So- drawing (that includes my ball point pens and Adobe photoshop), music & cats (I'd add in a pet fox, but Lisa says- No!).

Thanks Brent!

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