What Is The Future Of Bookshelves?

You just finished a book. You take it over and put it on the bookshelf to join the rest of your book collection. What’s displayed on your bookshelves says a lot about you. When we enter someones home we look at their bookshelf. We all do it.

What is the future of bookshelves?

Egon Spengler played by Harold Ramis in 1984 Classic Ghostbusters said it best “Print Is Dead”.

These days most people are switching to E-Readers. They can store thousands of books at a lower cost then buying the print version and take up a lot less space. Why store physical books on shelves when you can store digitally? It is projected by 2017 the U.S. eBook market will surpass the print market. The long-term occupants of bookshelves, books, are becoming less of a staple and more of a dinosaur each day. The New York Public Library wanted to get rid of its centuries old shelving, for something more modern. The library at my Alma Mater did something similar, they downsized the reference section (90%) and added more computers and study spaces. Some bookshelves lost their lives when that happened.

Will bookshelves continue to be used as they are? Or will they be used for something else?

Things that will or continue to be on bookshelves:

  • Picture Frames: Physical pictures are starting to die off. With digital picture frames you can now upload a couple hundred of photos for display. Some digital picture frames can even pull pictures from your Flickr and Facebook accounts. Although you can print your photos at home and put them in picture frames. This is something that can go on your bookshelf, whether it is digital or physical.
  • Models: You can put models that you build or collect onto bookshelves for display. If you are into Garden Railroading I think bookshelves would be great for storing your cars and engines.
  • Collectables: Anything you collect can go on bookshelves.
  • History/Children books: will still need a home, especially books with pictures. I prefer to have the physical copy of a book that utilizes a lot of pictures or have maps.

Things that will join or go before books:

  • CD’s: Digital music has put a kibosh on CD’s. Especially with single music download’s at an all time high. You no longer need to buy the physical CD to get the entire album.
  • DVD/Blu Ray: Digital Streaming  of TV shows and Movies are killing the replacement of VHS tape.

After doing a search on Google here are some other ideas for using bookshelves:

  • A Closet Organizer: Use baskets on shelves to hold underpants and socks and fold the rest of your clothes.
  • As a Desk: Smaller bookcases (think 3 shelves tall) make great supports for tabletops to create an instant desk.
  • As a Planter: A humble bookshelf laid on its back becomes the organized gardener’s dream.

  • As a Bar: Drinks are extra easy to fix when the makings are nicely arranged.

For more on alternative ideas for bookshelves check out: Alternative Uses For Bookshelves and 12 Ways To Use A Bookcase In Your Home.

As humans we always find objects to replace other objects or find new uses for those objects. The same is already occurring with bookshelves. Bookshelves will have a future, but will not be used like they have in the past.

I will still have books on my bookshelf. There are certain authors I prefer to physically hold their books and read, then to use my E-Reader. Here is what will continue to be on my bookshelf. All of my Harry Potter Hardback books, C.S. Lewis Collection, several other authors I will keep on my book shelves. Pictures of family, both digital and physical. Charging station for my E-books and other electronic devices. Going forward I will add very few books to my bookshelves.

What is on your bookshelves? Will your bookshelves stay the same or change?