In the New Yorker, Austin Kelley examines the Strand Bookstore‘s Books-by-the-Foot service (“Books in Bulk“). I would have thought that the primary client would be set designers, but it turns out the Strand does a fair amount of business with private libraries, too. Not only are they providing books for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, they selected works for Steven Spielberg’s Hamptons estate. (Hey, big-time film directors may be too busy to read or even buy books, but to live in a home that didn’t make them look bookish? Unconscionable!)
Customers can choose from eighteen basic library styles, for purchase or rental. "Bargain books," a random selection of hardbacks, is the cheapest, at ten dollars per foot of shelf space. For thirty dollars, clients can customize the color. For seventy-five, they can get a "leather-looking" library, which, as the Strand’s Web site puts it, "is often mistaken for leather."