While walking through one of the bookstores from Dutch chain Selexyz I stumbled upon something brilliant yet simple. Looking for nothing in particular I saw a way of recommending books to customers which struck me as very authentic and honest. In the middle of the store a large table was situated. The staff had picked their favourite books and put these on the table. Then they wrote a little review about it, which was attached to the book. Customers who walked past the table would see the written words that covered the front of the book partly and pick up the book to read what the staff members wrote.
This type of recommendation is very personal and draws immediate attention. Some journalist from a newspaper can write a good review, but if someone writes a review by hand it must be really good. To some of the books even, a written reaction had been attached by other staff members. They read the book based on a recommendation from their colleagues.
Would it be good to add customer reviews to this system as well? It could be. The store then becomes the offline equivalent of online stores like Amazon. The store should put a stack of small cards to the table and invite customers to write their own review for a book from the table. It’s even more interactive and authentic than it already is right now. New customers would not only read the staff’s handwritten review, but also the review of fellow book lovers. The store could then renew it’s table collection every couple of months or maybe every season.
UPDATE: Picture by Dani Schouten via comments.