12 September 11 | Chad W. Post

From Time:

Citing a changing climate in the reading world, the furniture authorities are putting a new spin on the old bookshelf – redesigning it to store anything but books.

The storage mavens at IKEA have noticed a shift in what consumers are storing in their bookshelves. After all, a Kindle can hold thousands more books than a wooden tower in the living room. According to The Economist, IKEA will release a new version of its classic BILLY bookshelf next month, one that’s focused less on storing books than storing, well, anything and everything else. The company is finding that customers use their shelves increasingly for “ornaments, tchotchkes and the odd coffee-table tome,” and less so for reading material.

The demise of paperbacks is increasingly imminent. Borders, once a book giant, has closed up shop. Barnes & Noble is staving off the same fate by embracing e-books. It’s clear the book world is well into its digital transition. While IKEA won’t face financial trouble simply because people aren’t buying bookshelves to store books, they’re more than wise to keep up with buyers’ trends.

They’ve realized we don’t need fixed shelves 12 inches high and 9 inches deep. They’ve realized we’re more comforted by the endless capacity of a millimeters-thin box of transistors. And most importantly, they want us to keep buying their furniture. So by changing the depth and height and adding decorative glass doors to their bookshelves, they’ll ensure that the world will still have a use for their some-assembly-required furniture. Go ahead, store your souvenirs on our bookshelf, they’re saying.


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