Stupid Design Trends: How Do You Shelve Your Books?

What was the goofiest design trend to come out of 2017? For our money, it’s the backwards book trend, most succinctly commented on by British comedian Pete Otway who took to Twitter, posting a photo from Ideal Home, a home design magazine, showing a shelf neatly stacked with books. From The Independent:

But, instead of the spines facing outwards, they were all back-to-front. An accompanying headline reads, “Lauren keeps the look neutral by stacking books back to front.”

Alongside the photo, which has since been likes more than 84,000 times and received 19,000 retweets, Otway posted, “Well Lauren’s a blithering idiot then, isn’t she?”

More than the original photo itself, Otway’s delicious comment started a boisterous Twitter interchange on the merits — and lack thereof — of stacking books spine-in on shelves. The Twitter bickering has even encouraged people to produce photos of various handsomely displayed and backwards books, or showing hilarious arrangements of same. You can see that exchange on Twitter here. Meanwhile, for what it’s worth, we will opine:

1. At a time when it was the height of chic to display Christmas trees upside-down, is this really so strange?

2. Book spines have a purpose: other than keeping the books together (duh) they’re also there to protect the contents of the book from light and other elements that can degrade the delicate paper on which books are printed. If you shelve them spine-in, that purpose is lost.

3. If, as Flavorwire suggests, the “Backward-Books-on-Shelves Trend is for Neutral and Minimalist Book Lovers” maybe those people minamlist book lovers should just get boxes and put the books inside them, because…

4. How can you ever find the book you want if you can’t see the spine?

What do you think of the trend of displaying books backwards? Would you ever think about doing it?

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