Design Dilemma: New Life for Old Books


I love literature so it pains me to say that, except for design and photography books, I’ve gone paperless. I read on my iPad or Kindle (which really is easier on the eyes). So, as much as I love paper books, I’ve been predicting for awhile now they are going to become more collectible and/or accessory-like.

Pulp paperbacks and the like have been the bane of interior design for some time now anyway, so it’s no surprise that companies like Juniper Books are doing big business. The outfit is run by former Internet-exec-turned-rare-book-dealer Thatcher Wine. And, although he’s located in Denver, many of his projects are in California and he’s been tapped to add books to the shelves of such places as the Pasadena Showcase House. Wine does more than procure rare books, he also provides novel style solutions. Take a look at his workshop, where he uses tomes as stair risers and shelf decor:

But the most common designer request is to wrap books (often an exisiting collection) in a color paper or vellum for a neat and color-coded look. Wine creates both old and new, serious and arty looks for bindings.

I don’t think print will ever die, but I do think mass market paperbacks and outdated handbooks could be on their way out—unless designers can find new uses for them, as Wine did last Christmas.

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