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How Ikea Redesigned Its Bookshelves for a Bookless World

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Books aren't dead. Let's not even say they're dying, not yet. But physical books, the musty tomes you checked out from the library, are most certainly on the decline—to the point that Ikea has redesigned its products to accommodate a world without them.

The Economist takes a terrifically interesting look at the changes digitization has caused in the publishing world and its fellow travelers, among the most interesting of which have taken place in the furniture giant's manufacturing plans:

Next month IKEA will introduce a new, deeper version of its ubiquitous "BILLY" bookcase. The flat-pack furniture giant is already promoting glass doors for its bookshelves. The firm reckons customers will increasingly use them for ornaments, tchotchkes and the odd coffee-table tome-anything, that is, except books that are actually read.


As our shelves fill up with more tchotchkes than Chomsky, and we click through rather than page-turn, it's becoming increasingly clear that we're in the most substantial period of literary transition since Gutenberg first fired up the printing press. [Economist via Postereus]