The New Library

The New York Times has an interesting article today profiling Thatcher Wine, of Juniper Books. His company provides ready made book collections for those willing to pay the price. The article focuses on his “book-by-the-foot” market, which includes homeowners, designers, real estate agents, et c., who have a big space and need to fill it fast. Juniper Books specializes in sets with matching bindings – a trend we’ve seen in the blogging world for a long time!

Apartment Therapy

I’m not a fan of the much-discussed Kraft paper covered books; how could you possibly find a book you are looking for, and if you don’t plan on reading, why spend the money to buy them? Furthermore, it isn’t so visually stunning that it’s worth the sacrifice. (If you feel differently, you can purchase a foot of random kraft wrapped books for only $39.99! It’s like a grab bag of literature, that you will probably never read.) The happy medium, I suppose, lies in the library of India Hicks:

Domino via Apartment Therapy

The NY Times article highlights an interesting difference: books as art and books as reading materials. In some of the projects mentioned, books were clearly being used as art installations, such as Philippe Starck’s Spa Icon Brickell at the Vicery in Miami:

Viceroy Miami

The effect is truly beautiful and unique.  But to think of all the children in this country  who do not have access to books and then to see 2,000 perfectly good ones wrapped in white paper to sit on a shelf for all eternity? It’s somewhat nauseating. The article is full of other harrowing projects (i.e. the news program that requested their books be cut in half to fit the shallow depth of the on set bookshelves).

More interesting to me are the libraries composed by sellers that have “naturally” matching bindings, as opposed to designer-imposed ones. Can you imagine sourcing 2,000 light blue, leather bound, English-language, standard height books?? No wonder Juniper Books charges a hefty rate; the alternative is a designer’s nightmare.

Matching collections can be beautiful, I guess, but what ever happened to the old fashioned idea of building a library of personal choice? Even clients that request certain topics for their libraries are losing the deeply personal experience of buying books and developing relationships with them. It’s a thought-provoking article, to be sure; it concludes with this huge can of worms:

Ms. Mack added that she was working with a decorator to “refresh” her own Manhattan apartment, and was hoping to decorate lavishly with books. She wondered if she might stack her books and turn them into legs for a coffee table.

“Then,” she said, “I can put my Kindle on top.”



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