Pages, printed and bound, aren’t going away anytime soon. Our appreciation for books may be more along the lines of perceiving them as objects ripe for manipulation as opposed to the noble repositories of knowledge, but as a lover of books, I’ll settle for that. I just want books to be around, and if they are primarily around as decorative items, as doorstops, as props for a Pottery Barn catalog shoot with the covers ripped off so that the binding is exposed in some sort of arty attempt to get the books to “match”, that’s perfectly alright with me (not that anyone’s asking). It’s taken years for me to reach this state of equanimity. I used to gnash my teeth at reading accounts of books being purchased by the yard for the fake-old new libraries of fake-old new rich people. But now I save my hysteria for worthier causes – which no doubt I’ll share at some point. Now I realize that all those designers buying books by the yard and styling Pottery Barn catalog shoots are actually saving books, if not in the literary sense, then in the literal sense. These designers are creating a nostalgia market so great that generations to come wouldn’t even dream of having a house without books, even if those same generations can’t recall ever having read anything from a printed page instead of a screen.
The New York Times has a story today on this very thing: designers crafting something altogether book-ish but unliterary out of books. Read about it HERE. The book is dead, long live the book.