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Between the Kindle, the iPad, and Going Rogue, the book’s been having a pretty rough year. But even if you’re not much for lugging the things around with you, we recommend keeping your collection around for one very simple reason: the bookshelf.

If you’re handling it right, your bookshelf should be the most handsome item in any room it’s a part of. It inspires interest, conversation, curiosity. Like most great style items, it’s a reflection of you at your best. So instead of thinking of it as a rotating supply of reading material—that’s what your Kindle is for, after all—you may want to start thinking of it like an antiques collection.

That means being selective, recognizing good objects, and not picking up anything you aren’t ready to hold on to for a decade or so. It also means no trade paperbacks and nothing you can pick up in an airport. You’re going for more than just text here. Think of the smell, the dust—in short, everything else. Luckily, there’s lots of it around. We’d lay down money that your local used book shop has more handsome items than just about anywhere else.

If you’ve got something particular in mind, we’d start here, but otherwise, feel free to judge by covers.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom