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Shelf Promotion: The Art of Furnishing Rooms with Books You Haven’t Read | Books

Jthere can be two types of library owners: those who own more books than they can hold, cramming tomes into every crevice – and those who dot their shelves with cleverly placed stacks and have space to burn potted plants and framed photos.

And then there’s Ashley Tisdale, whose shelves are simply empty. The High School Musical star recently went viral for admitting to Architectural Digest that she rushed to fill the built-in shelves of her Hollywood Hills home specifically for an on-camera tour.

“These shelves, I have to be honest, actually had no books in them. [them] a few days ago”, Tisdale mentioned. “I asked my husband to go to a bookstore, like, ‘You need to get 400 books.

A pile-up on Twitter naturally ensued. “I am speechless,” declared the tweeter that broadcast the clip first.

But it turns out bulk-buying bookshelves is a common practice among the rich and famous — and increasingly so, ever since books became an erudite backdrop for Zoom.

According to MailOnline, Adele spent over £1,000 in a frenzy at Daunt Books before the pandemic, “removing books from the shelves without even looking at the backs or reading the blurbs.”

At least Adele bought them herself, points out Miles de Lange, interior designer at Potterton Books, a supplier specializing in books. He says interior designers are often responsible for providing books to clients. “These are props, just like you buy a little object.”

But stuffing shelves with desirable coffee table books can cost up to £5,000 – something customers rarely want to spend, says De Lange. “They’ll give you £1,000 and you can buy 20, but that’s not enough to fill a wall.” The compromise is often a stack of two or three books, with a vase or trinket on top.

“At least Adele bought the books herself”… the singer and her library. Photography: YouTube

If you have the budget to splash out on books you won’t read, there are dedicated library curators such as Thatcher Wine, whom Gwyneth Paltrow hired after finding herself. some 600 pounds brief after a home renovation.

wine company Juniper Books sells classic literature sets with custom jackets – a patented approach, it 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 curation services. Publishers also accept that many judge books by their covers.

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

The Little Clothbound Classics, released in August.
The Little Clothbound Classics, released in August. Photo: Penguin

Bea Carvalho, Head of Fiction at Waterstones, explains that books with strong designs tend to be shared on social media, which boosts sales: “Having beautiful images to show is so important…Sprayed edges pass very well on BookTok and Instagram.”

He encouraged the industry to innovate. The special edition of Waterstones from Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus – released on Tuesday and announced as the book of the summer – has exclusive cover pages, displaying the periodic table.

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

It’s for this reason, according to Karen Howes of interior design studio Taylor Howes, that designers with a mandate to buy books tend to stick to non-fiction, not novels. She tends to “dress the library” with titles related to her customers’ interests such as wine or aviation – “so that when their friends come, they feel like they’ve selected all of them themselves.” their books “.

Novels are where you’d be caught off guard, says Howes: “’Have you read the latest so-and-so?’ – and you didn’t.

Libraries designed by Taylor Howes.
Libraries designed by Taylor Howes. Photography: Astrid Templar/Taylor Howes Designs

The rise of working from home allowed exposure on an even larger scale. The Twitter account @BookcaseCredibilityFollowed by more than 115,000 people, collects screenshots of celebrity book sets, arguing, “What you say isn’t as important as the library behind you.”

In a video interview with Vogue from her Los Angeles home, Adele’s shelves were recently revealed to carry titles such as 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 generation and self-help – his taste for fiction does not seeming to extend only to a Ken Follett novel.

Tisdale was at least in good spirits about the reviews she received, sharing her favorite book recommendations (and asking for more) in a post on her Frenshe lifestyle website. She apologized for being slow to respond: “I’ve recently had a lot of new books to peruse.” At least she can see the half-full shelf.