Books by the Yard

When bookshops are selling books the ways carpet shops sell floor coverings, then it says something about the real purpose of books. My friend Rachel sent me a link to a lovely piece in The New Yorker about Strand Books, and how it provides what amounts to an interior decorating service for its clients. They sell books by the foot, to quickly fill up people’s otherwise empty shelves. It’s not a new service, having been around since the mid 1980s, and as well as filling up blank space on film sets, probably uses up a lot of otherwise unread books 🙂

Customers can choose from eighteen basic library styles, for purchase or rental. “Bargain books,” a random selection of hardbacks, is the cheapest, at ten dollars per foot of shelf space. For thirty dollars, clients can customize the color. For seventy-five, they can get a “leather-looking” library, which, as the Strand’s Web site puts it, “is often mistaken for leather.”

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