Saturday, 26 January 2013

Selling ,Shopping and Mr Selfridge - Book Review

Title of Book:            Shopping, Seduction & Mr Selfridge

Author            Lindy Woodhead

Publisher       Profile books

ISBN               978 - 178125087

 Rating 4 ****        A page turner,  easy on the mind and a fun read

Genre:            The history of 20th  century retailing  - popular history/ biography 

Style:              Well written and detailed but easy to read

Contents page:                     14 Chapters

Index: Comprehensive          15 pages two columns per page

Flick through eye appeal:    Easier enough to dip into but really has to read in sequence on first reading

Time for a breather Stops : Take a break at each end of chapter and reflect

Golden Nuggets:                  virtually every page – it’s a gold rush

Topic Summary:                   Biography of Harry Selfridge and the foundations of modern retailing.

Illustration:                            Visual in the form of photos 17 pages black and white portraits , fascinating old ads etc.

Quotes:                                  “The customer is  right” and many many more

From Napoleon Bonaparte describing Britain as a ‘nation of boutique owners’ to modern day popular historian Andrew Marr who described in his “History of Modern Britain”  as a “ story of the defeat of politics by shopping” retail is important to what Britain is about.
As you read this book have a pencil or highlighter to hand, since it is stuffed full of great stories, and many ideas that are just as pertinent today and back in the day.
Today’s Apple store has many of the principles of browsing , playing and touching of the stock that Harry Selfridge would have recognised.
The ITV  10 part series "Mr Selfridge" was fine but the book is so much more.
As the UK high street takes a battering from both triple dip recession and loss of trade to the Internet,  big store retailing will need to go back and reinvent itself to survive and differentiate itself from commodity shopping to the pleasure and fun of  the real shopping experience.

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