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The Secret Life of Books
January 9, 2012 5:04 PM   Subscribe

"After organizing our bookshelf almost a year ago, my wife and I decided to take it to the next level. We spent many sleepless nights moving, stacking, and animating books at Type bookstore in Toronto. Everything you see here can be purchased at Type Books."
posted by Toekneesan (38 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wouldn't get past five books without finding something interesting. An hour later, I would be sitting in the middle of a pile of books. Nothing would be organized, much less animated.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:11 PM on January 9, 2012 [18 favorites]


Argh! The dewey decimal system may have its flaws but this the chromatic library system is hell.
posted by pmcp at 5:25 PM on January 9, 2012


very nice, i like swimming books.
posted by azar at 5:27 PM on January 9, 2012


Good lord. I could actually smell the printer's ink wafting through the store during the second video...
posted by likeso at 5:32 PM on January 9, 2012


But...what happened to the banana?
posted by greatgefilte at 5:35 PM on January 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Beautiful video, even if seeing books in motion inspires in me mild anxiety over potential scuffing.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 5:37 PM on January 9, 2012


But...what happened to the banana?

It went rotten. But good news! It got served up a drink with egg white, egg shell and egg yellow in Portland.
posted by NoMich at 5:43 PM on January 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I probably should organize my bookshelves chromatically, because there is not other organizational program going on.
posted by Forktine at 5:47 PM on January 9, 2012


Please tell me I'm not the only one who reacted in horror over the books (in link 2) being grouped by colour.
posted by Decimask at 5:48 PM on January 9, 2012


I do not know why but I feel cheerful when i saw the seahorse moving on the table. Simple ideas are always influential.
posted by azar at 5:49 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I bought my brother's birthday present at Type Books just a few weeks ago. Now I feel cooler.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:55 PM on January 9, 2012


Not to be a hater, but in link 1, stuff like dictionaries and "how to eat" type books should go on a seperate reference bookcase So when someone looks at your books they aren't like "oh, I always wanted to read this I am impressed.... oh how to eat, lame"
posted by Ad hominem at 5:57 PM on January 9, 2012


I used to work for Borders. After organizing books all day the last thing I wanted to do was come and do more, so I had my books organized by color. I had a roommate and for the most part we knew whose what what, but on the few titles where we overlapped we put post it notes in the front. We had tons of books. It was a giant color wheel. People would come over and ask if we had a book. Our common joke was, "I don't know. Check the primary colors section."

It made a wonderful way of finding new books to read.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:02 PM on January 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I arranged my CDs by color for a while. It made for some excellent juxtapositions.
posted by jscalzi at 6:22 PM on January 9, 2012


I've had my bookshelf arranged by color for a while now. It's gorgeous to look at, and surprisingly easy for me to find things in because I have a very visual memory. I'm more likely to remember what a book looks like than its author sometimes.

Great video, thanks!
posted by szechuan at 6:24 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cool animation! But I must say, after forty years as a bibliophile -- and with somewhat diminished vision -- I am coming to a new appreciation for audiobooks.
posted by darkstar at 6:37 PM on January 9, 2012


I probably should organize my bookshelves chromatically

I was thinking about this just the other day. I would love to organize my books chromatically—because it looks so lovely—but I just have so many books of so many odd sizes and shelves unable to accommodate them that I shelve by what fits where, basically.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:50 PM on January 9, 2012


Aha! "The Joy of Books" is yours! Well done, well done. That's been forwarded widely all day within the publishing world. Well done...
posted by twsf at 7:14 PM on January 9, 2012


"It's gorgeous to look at, and surprisingly easy for me to find things in because I have a very visual memory. I'm more likely to remember what a book looks like than its author sometimes."

Yes, me also. I think the color organization works well for some of us, so those who are shocked by it... don't be.
posted by litlnemo at 7:19 PM on January 9, 2012


Very neat! (I especially liked the glimpse of the iconic Toronto post and rings out front.)

octobersurprise, if you have a small-ish to medium collection of books and CDs, organizing by colour is as good as any other method. They don't have to be the same size and they don't have to perfectly flow chromatically. I've got mine in various blocs of contrasting colours, some shelved in standard mode and some stacked on top of each other.

For example, I've got a blinding citrus-saffron slice (Orwell, Robert Graves and Robert Anton Wilson) up against a blue-to-violet stack that includes Bill Bryson, Stephen Fry, Stephen Jay Gould, and Brian Eno.

And as jscalzi said, the same method applied to CDs makes for some lovely surprises in music.
posted by maudlin at 8:13 PM on January 9, 2012


A co-worker has his work bookshelves arranged by color and another co-worker used to go in periodically and move one book out of place just to annoy him.
posted by girlhacker at 8:21 PM on January 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Instead of reading the book, sometimes I wait for the movie. This movie has so many books that I won't have to read for years.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:33 PM on January 9, 2012


Very cool. I was also pondering at what point will the technology be good enough (and cheap enough), so that someone can go ahead and design "robotic" books to, you know, actually do this for real!
posted by davidng at 9:43 PM on January 9, 2012


I think doing it this way would destroy my brain. Also it would be hard not to get nostalgic for books as I touch them. Stopping for nostalgia is the bane of any wanna-be organizer.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:37 PM on January 9, 2012


Although this one is better, it reminded me a bit of the cinema ad for a second-hand furniture shop in my city.
posted by wachhundfisch at 10:53 PM on January 9, 2012


[Added to quotes to the text. In case there is any confusion, OP is not the creator of the videos]
posted by taz at 11:58 PM on January 9, 2012


I'm glad to know I'm not the only one
posted by b33j at 2:14 AM on January 10, 2012


I've probably posted this before, but during one of my moves, a friend called out "I've unpacked your books!" She had, and she'd organized them chromatically, instead of by vague topic like I preferred. This system messed with me for over a year before I switched to Library of Congress. Then I moved again. The cycle continues.
posted by knile at 7:15 AM on January 10, 2012


Thanks to my two stints working in a bookstore, I feel nothing but I kind of existential weariness when I see so much shelving, unshelving, and reshelving going on.
posted by that's candlepin at 9:07 AM on January 10, 2012


I miss hanging out in bookstores after hours (former bookseller) so I enjoyed the bookstore video. I'm not fond of the rainbow chromatic arrangement, though it might be amusing to have Blue and green in 1 room, red in another, etc., though I really do prefer fiction in rough alphabetical order, and the rest in subject order, as I define it. Books to-be-read are on their own shelf, as many of them will be given away, not shelved. Since the Great Enfloodening, it's much easier, as there's plenty of shelf space. (sad face)
posted by theora55 at 9:16 AM on January 10, 2012


People who re-cover books for decorative reasons, and don't put title and author on the spine, may make my list of those who should be eligible for the death penalty, on Darwinian grounds.
posted by theora55 at 9:16 AM on January 10, 2012


But...what happened to the banana?

It split
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:28 AM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


a subtopic seems to have sprung up in this thread, which we can discuss here or maybe metatalk? how and why do YOU organize your books the way you do?
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 9:42 AM on January 10, 2012


Show us your bookcases, like we did with desks a few years ago, would be fun.
posted by mlis at 10:05 AM on January 10, 2012


I love that idea.

btw, here's a great article by designer Rob Giampietro about how and why folks arrange their shelves the way they do. It includes a few photos of the art installation "There Is Nothing Wrong In This Whole Wide World" by Chris Cobb done at the Adobe Bookshop back in 2004. Here's a short film showing how they did that.
posted by Toekneesan at 11:06 AM on January 10, 2012


By rough topic and then by size. You want a color blind guy to sort by color? I did once organize all my music by the different aspect of myself it appeals to, but refiling a CD involved too much thought.
posted by mdoar at 11:59 AM on January 10, 2012


Come to think of it I could also organize my graphic novels by smell. Some of them have distinctive odors to their inks. It would make my kids laugh to see me sniffing along a bookshelf for a book.
posted by mdoar at 12:02 PM on January 10, 2012


Meta
posted by mlis at 12:19 PM on January 10, 2012


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