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E-book readers are replacing books, so Ikea is changing its bookshelves, some say

by respaced on September 19, 2011

The Economist reports that the popular BILLY bookcase from Ikea is getting an overhaul next month. It is being redesigned with deeper shelves, which the Economist believes are meant for holding knick-knacks rather than books. The magazine indicates this is because Ikea forecasts that people will need less space to hold books, because thanks to E-Book readers, people are buying fewer books.

From an organizer’s perspective, this is an interesting development, because it might signal the end of book clutter in people’s homes. So often in clients’ homes I will see bookshelves crammed full of books two-deep while more books lay in boxes on the floor or heaped on nightstands. Many own more books than can reasonably be read (and re-read) in a lifetime. E-Book readers are a lifesaver for book addicts.

Yet, the idea of shelves designed to hold multiple knick-knacks that hold no real purpose is chilling to me. So many people have too many tchotchkees as it is. Are they going to feel an urge to buy more to fill their newly empty bookshelves? Can people live with open space in their homes or will they always feel a need to fill it?

What do you think? Do you own an E-Book reader, and if so, has it decreased the amount of book clutter in your home? Are you planning on getting rid of some of your old books and keeping only digital versions of them? Are bookshelves filled only with knick-knacks and framed pictures the future of home decor?

Image of BILLY bookcase, courtesy of Ikea.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter Rudolf September 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm

It's not like those who have books (and hoard them) are going to dispose of their decades of books because they purchase an e-reader. I suspect they will keep their old books simply because repurchasing them in an electronic format would be a waste of money. I suppose, fundamentally, the argument is wasted money vs. wasted space. I think the basic reason people (like me) keep once read books is to maintain a list of what was consumed.

I believe there is a time and place for both reading styles. Sometimes, there is nothing better than sitting down with a tactile pulp.


Donna Harrington February 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Nothing will ever replace holding a book in your hand- turning a real page & noing when there is a power failure- I will always be able to pick up a real book & read it!


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