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Everything, Everything: by Nicola Yoon Conversation Starters
Humanizing the big-box bookshop
A year-old Englishman, Daunt has spent nearly three decades in the bookselling business. For most of that time, he was exclusively Team Indie, overseeing an idyllic, boutique book-buying experience as the founder of Daunt Books, which has six locations in well-heeled neighborhoods in London. His turnaround strategy is centered on a simple premise: In a world where Amazon offers unbeatable convenience and prices, big book chains will only survive if they act more like independents. Also the manner in which they display their books, the amusement and serendipity of how they curate their shops. Some have books arranged by country rather than genre, a setup that encourages browsing: You might visit the Japan section looking for Haruki Murakami novels only to find yourself paging through a history of ramen or a book of haikus about cats. Daunt Books locations are also beautiful spaces, filled with dark wood shelves, green lamps, and gold light. The original location in Marylebone, which opened in on the site of an Edwardian-era bookseller, is long and narrow, with tall galleries of books offering a reassuring vision of orderly abundance.