Will E-Books Change How Our Homes Look?

Will E-Books Change How Our Homes Look?

Anna Hoffman
Sep 14, 2011

Did you guys see the news that IKEA is updating the Billy bookcase to make it less of a shelf for books and more a display case for objects? According to The Economist, the new shelves will be deeper, designed for coffee table books, vases, sculptures, etc., because consumers are no longer buying actual physical books.

Even I, a former Literature major who is obsessed with bookshelf organization, have started enjoying the bloodless download of electronic texts in lieu of the in-person bookstore hunt for the perfect read. My latest download is Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story, a great read set in a not-so-distant dystopian future where the smell of paper books is reviled by the new generation, as we see when our 'hero' is on a plane:

I noticed that some of the first-class people were staring me down for having an open book. "Duder, that thing smells like wet socks," said the young jock next to me...

I would dismiss this vision as laughable fiction, but Amazon now sells more e-books than physical paper books (again, according to the Economist). Are we in the middle of an enormous paradigm shift, or is it just a new balance between digital and analog?

On Apartment Therapy, we all tend to have lots of opinions about bookshelves, both their form and their function. As e-books become more prevalent, with Netflix-like models for 'renting' texts (coming soon from Amazon, per the Wall Street Journal), will you adapt your own bookshelves to reflect this change?

Image: Bethany Nauert / Warren & Mimi's Highly Personal Architectural Home

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