A recent piece in The Economist—in which it's stated that Ikea's newly refreshed BILLY bookcase is expected to be used "for ornaments, tchotchkes and the odd coffee-table tome—anything, that is, except books that are actually read"—has caused a flurry of spinoff headlines in the blogosphere. We wrote, "Ikea Admits the End of Books." Time wrote, "Ikea Redesigns Classic Bookshelf, Foreshadows the Demise of Books." TechCrunch wrote, "The End of Books: Ikea Is Changing Shelves To Reflect Changing Demand." And so on.
Well, Ikea is not happy about this. In fact, reps from the Swedish furnishings chain have just written in to say that books are not dead, and that any makeovers BILLY may have had reflect nothing about humankind's propensity for reading. In fact, the man in question, Billy himself, has issued a statement explaining, "My shelves are deeper so I can house bigger books. Deeper books." To get a second opinion, we ran the quandary by Anna, the Ikea chatbot. We asked, "Are books dead?" She replied, "I'd love to be able to discuss literature with you but my job is just to talk about IKEA." Point taken!
Here's Billy's fully response to Bookgate 2011:
So they think fun has gone to die? I don’t think so. Reading is one of the most enjoyable and smart things one can do with their time. And who knows better about reading than me, BILLY BOOKCASE. After all, I have been the IKEA go to bookcase for over 30 years.
I have been sold to over 41 million happy homes and have delighted the little ones? and the big ones by storing books for all ages on so many topics.
Sure, my shelves are deeper. Read this blog by Rosie Gray, she gets it!
My shelves are deeper so I can house bigger books. Deeper books. And I can hold all those mementos and pictures to keep all those books company. And my original BILLY size still remains. You can count on it. My endurance remains high.
So please, no more talk about reading books and how they are on their way out. Ebooks, sure. That’s OK. But a big beautiful book filled with eye popping pics? Now who could ever resist that! · Anna, Ikea's Chatbot, Graciously Answers Proust Questionnaire [Curbed National]
· Ikea Admits the End of Books [Curbed National]