I was reading in the New Yorker last night about how Strand's Bookstore offers Books-by-the-Foot service, which provides ready-made libraries for private homes, stores and movie sets.
Apparently you can choose from three different options; "Bargain Books," a random selection of hardbacks, which is the cheapest at ten dollars per foot of shelf space. For thirty dollars, you can customize the color. For seventy-five dollars, you can get a "leather-looking" library, which is "often mistaken for leather."
They apparently get most of their business from movie sets and the like, but recently they have been getting lots of inquires from celebrity types. These people come in and say they want so many books this color or this size for their shelves.
ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?! These people can't even pick out their own fucking books? I can't believe it. How lazy can someone be! One of my favorite things to do when I visit someone's home for the first time is to check out their bookshelves. I think it says a lot about someone. This whole "book-by-the-foot" thing is so bogus. It totally blows this out of the water. So basically when you go into these people's houses you aren't getting a good idea of that specific person's tastes and interests, but that of someone who works at the Strand's bookstore who picked them out. Urgh. I find it disgusting. (And you can also guarantee that these people haven't read one single book on these shelves.) I think the whole point of having a library or even a bookshelf in your house is NOT to show off how intelligent you want people to think you are. But to display your tastes and interests. That's what makes it interesting.
I am proud to say that I own 1630 books currently (according to my Librarything Catalog and I picked every last one of the books out myself!
On a side note, this article did have a few interesting tidbits. It talks about with all the technology that is out there, they pick out books for movie sets, that have to be very careful. In the article is says, "Although prop books are meant to be seen and not read, they have to evoke a mise en scene, inside and out. For Indiana Jones, the filmmakers specified that the books cover such topics and paleontology, marine biology, and pre-Columbian society. They have to be in muted colors and predate 1957. With high-def, people can just freeze the film and say 'Oh, that's so inappropriate.'"
Instead of wasting time freezing movies and looking at the bookshelves, people should actually READ.
Okay end of rant for the day.