Juniper Books.

You might have seen yesterday’s article in the New York Times about Juniper Books. Juniper Books is basically a used book store that curates libraries full of interesting books that also further a decorator’s agenda.

These photos are from Cullman & Kravis’s room at the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club 38th Annual Decorator Show House in New York City. How amazing are the turquoise accents? And I have to say, the books in these photos really got me thinking about my bookshelf and how much work it needs. For starters, I really like how the photos are placed on top of book stacks for an orderly effect.

They sells gorgeous sets of leather covered books… here are a few I love.

I would personally love to have a collection like these above. They will also put together themed collections of simply old books… and this is where I can’t help but think that Juniper Books is helping people pose as intellectual when really they’re not at all and will never actually read any of these titles. I am curious about just how much he charges people to go into a used bookstore for them! Although being here in HK where we left most of our books behind and there are no used English bookstores… I do kind of crave his services!

They also do some pretty aggressive re-covering… I personally prefer the real jackets of older books, but some of the covers of new books are so cheesy that I might go for something like this.

I actually randomly wrapped a Christmas gift for my music loving–sister-in-law in the same paper (and yes I took a picture of it so I could remember it!):

While I love my Kindle as much as the next girl, there is something that just makes me really sad when I think that my children might not ever hold a real book or go into a library that has that comforting, musty smell… I’ve clipped Juniper’s founder Thatcher’s defense of libraries from his blog:

1. An expression of one’s personality: This aspect is completely lost with the digitalization of books and music. With the advancements in technology most evident in such devices as the iPod, Kindle and now the iPad, we are losing the ability to learn about a person just by observing a record on their shelf or a novel in a bookcase. It used to be that you could learn an awful lot about a person’s interests just by taking a brief glance at what was sitting on their shelf; this is not the case anymore with e-readers that have reduced books to a collection of 1’s and 0’s.

2. A great way to impress guests: What better to show guests that you’re cultured and intellectual than some strategically placed Marcel Proust or 19th century Russian literature on your shelves? The best part is you don’t actually have to read them. They serve their purpose just sitting their collecting dust while you watch your favorite MTV reality shows.

3. Makes for a good conversation starter: In this case you probably need to have read the books on your shelf or at the very least read the blurb on the back of the dust jacket. A guest might see a book in your library and realize that you both share an intense interest in rare miniature frogs; a new friendship is then instantly formed.

4. When done right, it just looks cool: A shelf full of iPads is totally unnecessary – not to mention an odd design choice. Books, on the other hand, make for endless amount of decorative possibilities. You can outfit your home library in antique or modern leather, color sorted covers, vintage cloth, custom wrapped solids and whatever else looks good covering a book.

I like his honest defense and in closing I just have to share Juniper’s Christmas tree with you because I think it’s awesome and I’m just starting now to pull down my decorations, which is always a little sad and depressing!
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8 responses to “Juniper Books.

  1. To defend Amazon & the Kindle, I will respond to Thatcher’s points.

    1. This is a valid criticism. However, I anticipate that we will find new ways to share our interest in books in the digital world. There are already so many options for sharing our music listening habits that now we can easily connect to a friend’s playlist or find out what they’ve been listening to recently. So much better than having to go to their house to browse their record collection! Technology has increased serendipity in the music world, it will for books too once the technology matures.

    2. So the complaint is that we will be unable to project a phony image? Horrors.

    3. Valid only in the strictly physical sense. However, further to my point #1, we will find many more common connections when they can be linked through our profiles on fb or twitter instead of requiring that a friend scan our bookshelf to find out what we share.

    4. To me, this is really the only concern that rings true. But can’t we find something else cool to replace the books? My guess is that you, in particular, will not find that to be a problem.

  2. Something about reading things from a computer, doesn’t seem like really reading. I have the option to read much of my course work online, but choose to copy it and read it and feel it! I can go back and look up the high lights or things that really stuck out to me. I know I am using too many trees by doing this, but I do give my copies to students who will be taking my class in the future and then they will recycle them. I know your generation grew up on computers and so you are more familiar with the screens and buttons, but maybe to remember things better I need to feel the pages with my hands.

  3. I’m with Mom on this one!! But I must say that physical pages AND “ctrl-F” would make for a delightful combo when reading/studying coursework!!

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