January 12, 2018

Design Instagrammers are shelving books backwards, because who wants to know what to read in this day and age?


If you went up to Mark Zuckerberg back in 2001 and told him he’d one day ruin reading and books for everyone, he might’ve said, “Ok, I can see that but will I still be wearing zip-up hoodies?” But it probably would’ve been a surprise to all of us, until people started organizing their books spine-in.

Flavorwire’s Alison Nastasi reports on the new “phenomenon” of not actually organizing your books, just lining them up backwards on your shelves. It’s called “backwards books” shelving and it puts the “boring” in home design. Nastasi writes, “Neutrals-loving lit nerds are drawn to the calming color scheme, while others find the spines-to-the-back display super silly.” Neutral-loving book nerds… or design-oriented Instagrammers?

Nastasi does her best to stay neutral herself, though many people took to Twitter to poke fun at the new trend. For Slate, Heather Schwedel titled her reaction piece “There Is No Better Metaphor for Instagram’s Shallowness Than the People Posting ‘Backwards Books.’” Truth.

Nastasi references a Neatorama post about backwards book-shelving, which ends with a great question I think we should all ask ourselves: “What would be your impression if you went to someone’s house and saw all their books displayed this way?”

So, in conclusion: Thanks a lot, Mark!



Alex Primiani is the associate director of publicity at Melville House.