Spend a few minutes on the internet and you’ll probably see the kind of highly curated images that saturate social media, whether they’re posts by influencers or ads from retail powerhouses. Every detail in these images is planned, from the succulents in the background to the coffee mugs placed strategically on the counter and yes, even the books lining the shelves with precise color coordination. Just based on a quick scan of these picturesque galleries, it’s easy to make the assumption that these books aren’t going to be opened in the near future, if at all. This use of books for their “aesthetic” induces eye rolls in some and can even be downright offensive to literary enthusiasts.
The books I read for work and pleasure are almost always downloaded onto my phone either as EPUB files or as audiobooks. I carry almost no paper with me and feel righteous frustration when handed a paper syllabus. I feel virtuous for saving paper, but this issue might not actually be as cut and dry as we think.