Monday, March 26, 2012

Books as a Decorating Element, and the Fate of Hardbound Books

                                      photography by Mark Bolton

I saw this image in my favorite magazine - British Country Living, March 2012 - and it really gave me a flashback to the old farm house.
We had a dark stairwell going upstairs and books and catalogs and a mismatch of paper products always somehow landed on the side of it, creating a never ending heated conversation between my mother and us siblings about it never being clear.  Of course, our piles did not have this clean, colorful look.  But I did not think books on a stair would become a decorating element.  It does save on buying new bookcases!

Now I see books used as decorating props all the time in magazines and home furnishing catalogs. With a discerning eye one can organize books by colors and shapes as they show in the stairway photo, and make it look rustic and interesting. I see books piled high on bookshelves with their paper edges outward to give an even ivory textured look.  I have even wrapped book covers in kraft paper for window and store displays to add to a more contemporary look.

Years ago it was a trend to use old, vintage leather books in displays and there were display prop companies you could buy 100 or more books from, pennies on the dollar, to place in shop displays.  Most of these books you could not read because they were from Europe. My friend from Denmark, who worked along with me in display could read them.  Pickers just loaded tons of books from Europe and shipped them over to the USA, not for people to read, but to use as decoration.  Interior designers would place foreign language and English vintage books in home libraries to create a sophisticated look in a home, never to be read.  Sad but true.

Now we are in the age of Kindles.  What will happen to that solid, paper book that one used to have to buy?
Remember Star Trek?  One of the other characters would catch Captain Kirk relaxing in his room with a glass of real, old brandy and a real, vintage book from the 21st century.  Both rare, both cherished.

He even wore an old pair of reading glasses that were just ego dressing, not needed since everyone in his century now had perfect vision.  Can't wait for that!

The future is here. Personal libraries are already being housed in virtual worlds. Very convenient, so very easy to move with you, though definitely not as pretty.  But as long as writers, virtual books, and readers do not become obsolete, then the world will still survive.

But I do wonder the fate of our local public libraries.
Will they become virtual also - just websites you can log onto to "check out" virtual books and magazines?
And Bookstores!?
Nope.  I just can't imagine not having a local bookstore.
Banish the thought.

                                                                                       copyright 2012 Stepka