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Montana bookstore owner encourages sharing of store displays

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Ann Hermes

(Read caption) A pedestrian walks past the window displays at Rust Belt Books in Buffalo, New York.

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One thing brick-and-mortar stores can offer that can’t be found on book-buying websites: beautiful in-store displays.

Gary Robson, who owns Montana’s Red Lodge Books & Tea, is hoping to inspire other bookstore workers through his two Pinterest boards “Creative Bookstore Windows” and “Effective Bookstore Displays.” In a post on his website, Robson detailed how he was inspired to create the boards after attending the American Booksellers Association Winter Institute in January and appreciating its atmosphere of collaboration.

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“Sometimes sharing ideas is enough to create new ideas along the way, and that’s just what happened to me,” he wrote, mentioning that he was inspired by such panels as those titled “Creating Compelling In-Store Displays” and “Identify and Cultivate Your Store Brand.” “At the cocktail reception the last night of Winter Institute, I ran into Sydney Jarrard from the American Booksellers Association. Always eager to create more work for other people, I suggested to her that the ABA should create a Pinterest board where bookstores could share ideas for displays and window decorating. She enthusiastically agreed, talked to the boss, and dropped it back in my lap last week. I really have to work on saying 'no' more often.”

So far, the “Creative Bookstore Windows” board has amassed almost 300 followers and displays with themes from the “Doctor Who” TV series to seasonal motifs can be seen there. Window decorations from stores from Massachusetts, Tennessee, and others have been posted.

The “Effective Bookstore Displays” also has almost 300 followers and displays themed around National Poetry Month, Banned Books Week, and more can be seen, with displays from Los Angeles, Australia, and other areas.