It's official, bookshelves are making a comeback. But for the bibliophiles among us, did it ever really go away?
Insight from Mintel's Books and e-books UK 2017 Report has revealed that sales of physical books are set to rise by 6 per cent this year to £1.7 billion, while e-books are predicted to take a tumble. In fact, physical books will continue to fly off the shelves with a predicted 25 per cent growth in the next five years.
'The print book revival continues as consumers, young and old, appear to have established a new appreciation for this traditional format,' said Rebecca McGrath, senior media analyst at Mintel. 'In such a connected world many people increasingly value time when they can get away from screens. When it comes to print readers, many value the chance to enjoy some digital-free time at home.
'As lives and homes becomes even more connected and digitally-focused, the rare moments one can "switch off" will likely become even more highly regarded, helping further cement the importance of print books in people's lives.'
But that's not the only thing sparking a bookshelf resurgence – social media, and more specifically, the #shelfie, has returned as Instagram's latest hashtag craze.
What is a #shelfie?
In April, Pinterest listed the shelfie as a growing trend amongst pinners, but this is certainly not a new trend. The #shelfie first emerged a few years ago with the craze enabling interior obsessives to showcase their bookcases and impressive literature collection. Today, it has expanded into artfully curated shelves with plant pots and ornaments.
Now, department store John Lewis has said that the #shelfie has prompted an +11 per cent increase in sales of bookcases so far this season.
It appears that customers are investing in shelving units with many posting their displays on social media and hashtagging #shelfie.
David Barrett, furniture buyer at John Lewis, said: 'Bookshelves are making a comeback this year after falling from favour in 2015, when the rising popularity of the e-reader meant that less and less people were needing to store books in their homes.
'We've seen the reverse in 2017 - customers are falling back in love with the romanticism of collecting books, and are buying beautiful shelves and display units to keep them on. We're also seeing more and more customers wanting to display other decorative items of objet d'art, and a stylish bookshelf works equally well for this.'
So even though bookshelves and cases (and similarly shelving units and floating shelves) are on the rise, nowadays they're not entirely used for its original purpose. You're now more likely to find books carefully positioned alongside unique trinkets, family photos and travel mementos, with the shelving unit becoming a renewed centrepiece of the home and a piece of furniture that shows off the homeowner's personality, intellect and interest.
Take a look at some #shelfie and #bookshelfie entries on Insta below:
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