OXFORD, MS—Saying that they were quickly running out of options, the management at struggling used bookstore Selected Works claim they have taken every measure to ensure customer involvement and increase sales except for taking the drastic step of organizing their books into sections based on subject or genre and shelving them in alphabetical order according to the author’s last name. “We’ve exhausted all possible options, from stacking up our foreign-language paperbacks on a big table to shoving the children’s books into the space under the back staircase, to spreading out the addiction memoirs across the carpet, yet we’re still hemorrhaging money,” said worker-owner Tera Renee Mosley, busily stocking a recently donated collection of Roberto Bolaño novels “wherever it feels like they belong.” “We even shoved a whole rack of Stephen King novels out in front of the store and left it out in all kinds of weather, but no one’s biting. We’re struggling just to keep the lights on right now, even though we all try our best to greet customers with a curt, no-eye-contact nod if we sense they may be about to ask us for help. We put in a little coffee and espresso bar for the employees. And lately, we’ve been really good about enforcing our no-bags-or-backpacks policy to crack down on theft, so I’m not sure what else we can do to turn things around.” Mosley said she was hoping to see a marked change in sales after painstakingly organizing an expensive set of red leather-bound 1920s travel guides into a prime position on the front counter.
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