In October, IKEA will introduce a new, deeper version of its BILLY bookcase (with optional decorative glass doors), In other words, the BILLY will no longer be beholden to the dimensions of the hardback book. It will be less book and more case.
As The Economist reported this week, the bookcase will be remade to accommodate "ornaments, tchotchkes and the odd coffee-table tome— anything, that is, except books that are actually read."
Why would IKEA ever want change to our beloved, hack-friendly, and reliably reliable BILLY? You can blame the Kindle and the Nook. The Economist explains that during the first five months of 2011, domestic sales of e-books overtook sales of adult hardback books; Amazon now sells more copies of e-books than paper books. And with bookshops shuttering their doors across the country (bye bye Borders), this migration to e-reading will only accelerate in the coming years.
Sure, I may buy a Kindle and join the ranks of e-reader converts, but I can't imagine ever eliminating actual, 3-dimensional books from my home. I love the look and feel of books in my hands. But I also like the way books look. Books have become an integral part of my decorating aesthetic; they give my home a personal stamp. My bookshelves tell the story of my life through the pages I have read, from the battered old copy of Wuthering Heights to the latest novel by Sam Lipsyte. I think I will keep my old BILLYs for now.
What about you? Are bookshelves (filled with books) destined for extinction in your home?