Shelf-promotion: the art of furnishing rooms with books you haven’t read | Books

TThere may be two kinds of bookcase owners here: those who own more books than they can fit, stuffing tomes into every crack, and those who dot their shelves with cleverly placed stacks and have room to burn potted plants and framed photos.

And then there’s Ashley Tisdale, whose shelves are empty. The star of High School Musical recently went viral for admitting to Architectural Digest that he had rushed to stock the built-in shelves in his Hollywood Hills home specifically for a camera tour.

“These bookshelves, I have to be honest, didn’t actually have any books on them. [them] a couple of days ago,” Tisdale saying. “I had my husband go to a bookstore and say, ‘You need to buy 400 books.'” (Her husband’s alternative plan of “collecting books over time and putting them on the shelves,” Tisdale quickly dismissed.)

Naturally, a Twitter buildup ensued. “I am speechless”, declared the tweeter who first circulated the clip.

But it turns out that mass shelf-buying is standard practice among the rich and famous, and becoming more so as books have established themselves as a scholarly backdrop for Zoom.

According to MailOnline, Adele spent more than £1,000 on a pre-pandemic spree at Daunt Books, “pulling books off the shelves without even looking at the spines or reading the blurbs.”

At least Adele bought them herself, notes Miles de Lange, an interior designer at Potterton Books, a specialized book supplier. He says that interior designers often take it upon themselves to provide books for clients. “They are accessories, just like you buy a little object.”

But stocking shelves with desirable coffee table books can cost up to £5,000, which customers rarely want to spend, De Lange says. “They’ll give you £1,000 and you can buy 20, but it’s not enough to fill a wall.” The engagement is usually a stack of two or three books, with a vase or bauble on top.

'At least Adele bought the books herself'... the singer and her bookstore.
‘At least Adele bought the books herself’… the singer and her bookstore. Photography: YouTube

If you have the budget to spend on books you won’t read, there are dedicated shelf curators like Thatcher Wine, whom Gwyneth Paltrow hired to find herself. about 600 books shortly after a home renovation.

wine company juniper books sells classic literature sets with custom covers – a proprietary approach, he Explainwhich allows someone to own “the complete works of Jane Austen, but in a certain Pantone chip color that matches the rest of the room.”

Juniper Books and its Colorado “showroom” may seem like the ultimate celebrity weakness, but since the pandemic, some bookstores has begun offering shelf maintenance services. Publishers also accept that many judge books by their covers.

Penguin’s Clothbound Classics series of titles, such as Ulysses and Emma, ​​with Instagram-friendly covers, have been hugely successful, with a stained box set on the desk of the Duchess of Cambridge; in August a range of 48 titles arrives in small format.

The Little Clothbound Classics, available in August.
The Little Clothbound Classics, available in August. Photography: Penguin

Bea Carvalho, head of fiction at Waterstones, says that books with a strong design tend to be shared on social media, which drives sales: “Having beautiful images to show off is very important…Sprayed edges go down really well on BookTok and Instagram.”

It has encouraged the industry to innovate. Waterstones’ special edition of Bonnie Garmus’s Lessons in Chemistry, which came out Tuesday and is considered the book of the summer, has exclusive guards, showing the periodic table.

It’s a fantastic novel, adds Carvalho, but the design does it justice: “If you love a book, you want to display it proudly.”

It’s for that reason, says Karen Howes of the Taylor Howes interior design studio, that designers with a book-buying rundown tend to stick to nonfiction, not novels. She tends to “dress the bookshelf” with titles related to her clients’ interests, such as wine or aviation, “so that when her friends come over she feels that they themselves have selected all of her books.”

Novels are where you’d get caught, Howes says: “’Have you read the latest so-and-so?’ – and you haven’t.”

Bookshelves designed by Taylor Howes.
Bookshelves designed by Taylor Howes. Photography: Astrid Templier/Taylor Howes Designs

The rise of work from home has enabled exposure on an even larger scale. the twitter account @BookcaseCredibilityFollowed by more than 115,000 people, it collects screenshots of celebrity bookcases, arguing, “What you say isn’t as important as the bookstore behind you.”

In a video interview with Vogue from her Los Angeles home, it was recently revealed that Adele’s shelves held titles like The Mosaics of Rome and Japanese Prints. “There are some good ones up there,” she said as the camera panned.

Likewise, a close study of Tisdale’s shelves reveals celebrity biographies, reference books, cookbooks, and titles on fashion, psychology, wealth building, and self-help – her taste for fiction seems to extend only to a Ken novel. Follett.

Tisdale was at least in a good mood with the reviews she received, sharing her favorite book recommendations (and asking for more) in a post to his Frenshe lifestyle website. She He apologized for being slow to respond: “I just got a lot of new books to read recently.” At least you can see the shelf is half full.

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