Book superstores – a centuries-old concept

This from Judith Flanders’ “Consuming Passions”:

The booksellers Lackington Allen & Co. [in 18th century London] had a trade card that promised ‘the finest shop in the world being 140 feet in front’, with fourteen windows on to the street, and ‘Lounging Rooms’…

In 1794… Lackington moved his shop into a mansion in Finsbury Square, which he named the Temple of the Muses.  Inside there was a large circular counter from which to serve customers in a magnificent room – a room so large that, after the first day of trading, as a publicity stunt, a coach and horses were driven right the way around the counter.

Despite such grandeur, Lackington made his fortune in the mass market.  Over the entrance to the Temple of the Muses he had painted, ‘Cheapest Bookseller in the World’, and on his carriage the motto ‘Small profits do great things’.

Lackington bookshop London

Lackingtons (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Barnes & Noble - The Grove at Farmers Market California - Wikipedia

Barnes & Noble, Farmers Market CA (Wikipedia)

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One Comment on “Book superstores – a centuries-old concept”

  1. Carole Blake says:

    Pictures speaking as loud as words there …