Shelves upon shelves and book spines next to book spines – that’s what German bookstores generally look like. Oftentimes, there is not enough room to showcase individual products. Even cleverly placed book tables or book stands and displays can’t change that. That’s why we picked two very special stores that draw the attention to individual books by using a very individual concept.
The “stories“ bookstore in Hamburg’s Hanseviertel stages books in an entirely different way. “Time for Stories“ is the store’s motto and that literally means every single story. When you enter the store, you first think you accidentally stepped into a gallery. Brown and white floor-to-ceiling shelves with narrow, rectangular cases dominate the store. Every single book is showcased in one of these cases – and in a rather atypical way for a bookstore, with forward-facing book covers. Similar to a picture frame, this offers each book its own little stage.
What makes the store so special: the bookstore carries more than 7,000 titles, of which 1,000 are presented at any one time. The displays change every day so that the store gets a brand-new look in next to no time and keeps offering even regular customers a new story every time. Some shelves are sorted based on the color of the book cover or topics such as “bears” or “soccer” for example. After all, the sight of a monochromatic bookshelf confuses customers for a brief moment. Those who look for a classic layout by genre selection, search in vain. In addition, reviews from newspapers can be found behind some of the books.
The reading room is located in the middle of the store. Chairs along a long table invite you to linger and browse. The event titled “Abendbrot“ (English: supper) regularly takes place right here. Staff members introduce their favorite books. Snacks and beverages are also provided. During store hours, customers can order a cappuccino in the Café area near the checkout counter and savor the homemade cakes.
The Stories! bookstore turns books into works of art and gives them their very own space. The eyes always gaze at just one single copy, even if that sometimes requires a ladder to reach all the way up to the ceiling.
The first space is located directly in the entrance area and does double duty as a lounge. The back wall is entirely covered by a bookshelf. It features the personal recommendations by the bookstore associates. They are marked by portrait photos and reviews from daily newspapers.The store window is also used as a multimedia space. With a projector, book recommendations can be projected onto a small screen attached to the window. Right below, a seating bench inside and outside invites customers to stay a little longer.
Bastei Lübbe reserved the last room to feature entertainment, fashion and women’s literature. The space includes a couch and a dressing room. A small exhibition space offers regional artists the chance to showcase their art.
The intent of the store is a focus on special, handpicked and unique items. Everything is individually selected and arranged with a lot of knowledge and a love of detail.