30 April 2022

Purchasing books by color - updated



I've heard of this for years, but didn't realize it was so popular until I found this Etsy seller and scrolled down the page to see other offerings by other sellers.  Prices apparently vary by color:


Reposted from 2021 to add this information for a Washington Post article:
Chuck Roberts, owner of Wonder Book & Video in Frederick, Md., buys tractor-trailer loads of new, unsold books, known in the trade and dreaded by authors, as remainders. Brokers pick them up for pennies from publishers or bookstores, and Roberts stands ready to make a deal. He recently bought a 44,000-pound load of about 38,000 remaindered books.

Roberts, who sells both used and remaindered books, told me he once provided two miles — yes, two miles — of books as decor for more than 100 locations of Restoration Hardware (now known as RH) in the United States and Canada. ..

There’s something about resuscitating books that produces an irresistible tug in people with an instinct for lifesaving. Like McKim, Pat Oza, who runs O3 Books, a thriving books-by-the-foot business on Etsy and his own website, gave up medical school. “It hurts to see them thrown out,” Oza told me.

At McKim’s warehouse, books arrive in 3-foot-tall, 4-foot-wide circular cardboard crates that weigh about 1,000 pounds and are known as “gaylords,” a box manufacturer name that has become a catch-all, like Kleenex is for facial tissues. A gaylord is a magical and mystifying thing — a grab bag, a treasure hunt. McKim, who made his name selling bundles of children’s books, usually has only the scantest notion about what will be inside...

McKim’s books-by-the-foot designer, Charlotte Tillier, is ever on the lookout for those most-prized book spines: pink and purple. Not many of those out there. She sells three feet of vintage red-spined books for $138; but the same length of vintage pink and purple goes for $300. Tillier has become expert at stockpiling orange- and black-spined books for the requests that come roaring in around Halloween, and red, white and blue ones for the Fourth of July.

24 comments:

  1. So odd! I was aware that some people organize their books by color but... I guess they don't read? It's funny because I organize so many things by color, in fact, maybe a little obsessively but never, ever books. Except for the colored fairy books of course and they are in rainbow order for sure!

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    1. It's not just a matter of organizing by color, but of buying for color only, without any consideration of the content or subject matter. "I need two yards of green and blue books for the family room."

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  2. I once saw someone come to our Friends of the Library booksale (a large, twice-a-year event) with fabric swatches to match to books.
    Sandra

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    1. That's amazing. Posting your comment for librarian friends in case they didn't know!

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  3. My word, how decorating has changed !
    Ensuring your library looks good seems fair enough, tome, but then I'm not one to judge a book by it's ... colour.
    I s pectrum some of my attempts at humour are a bit marginal, shady even.

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  4. I have a bookshelf of cherished books and have always thought were ugly. I would spend good money for beautiful leather copies with art nouveau flourishes.... But none are offered :(
    For me the hardest part is not becoming overwhelmed with books, I can't imagine buying stuff I would never read because it's a specific shade....

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  5. What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.

    --Neil Postman, "Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business."

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  6. Pounds are British currency and feet are for walking on, any chance of you lot going metric soon ?

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  7. This is so strange to me because I have to make a conscious effort to only buy the books I love the most, otherwise I'd be drowning in them. It seems like a great way to recycle though!

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  8. Stones are for the garden and meters are for music...

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  9. This reminds me of the difference between "gourmand" and "gourmet." One isn't picky about what they're consuming, as long as there's lots of it. The other cherishes the food for it's color palate, presentation, scent, taste, and texture.
    I've always aspired to have a library of my own and nearly every room in my house has a bookshelf loaded to capacity in it. But I have read all but a few of those books multiple times and they are chosen for themselves- friends with a story I loved, writing that inspired or informed or challenged me, or references I return to again and again despite the instantaneous access of the world wide web. When the pandemic hit, my library was as well stocked as my pantry and both made the lockdowns much more bearable.

    Some books are decoative- I have coffee table books full of snowflakes, flowers from around the world, and National Geographic photographers' finest.
    But chosing "feet" or "pounds" of books to fill shelves based on color (or even "vintage" gold-embossed leather bindings) seems somehow indescribably sad. Books should fill the mind and soul and heart....not just the shelves.

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  10. Isn't a cylindrical container an odd choice for shipping objects that are rectangular solids?

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    1. Yes. And Google Images shows only rectangular ones, so perhaps it's a typo. ?

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    2. The picture in the article shows an octagon shaped "cylinder."

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    3. True. And I guess when the container gets to be that big, perhaps the shape becomes irrelevant.

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    4. The Gaylord containers I've seen are basically open-topped cardboard boxes attached to a wood pallet. The corners are cut off at a 45 degree angle, which makes them somewhat cylindrical.

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  11. If they books are bought by color only not to be read, and certain colors bring a king's ransom, why hasn't some crafty printer made fake books in those colors? Seems it would be more profitable than the real books. Also authors would boost sales by requesting certain color bindings.
    xoxoxoBruce

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  12. Very happy to see that there's finally a market for my orange-spined novel from 1990.

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  13. Earlier this year, I visited The Biltmore and marveled at the enormous library in that place. Gorgeous. Two floors filled wall to wall with books. Until after a bit I realized that this library did not exist to be read, just to impress people. Considering how busy the VanderBilts were, there is no chance they read more than a shelve of the books there. That made me very sad. All these gorgeous books, including so many first prints will never be read. They will just be seen.

    I've always wanted a library in my home. I've got so many shelves, I've had to had back to the library more because the place it full. But I'm happy, as others here, because I've read most of the books. Didn't read all the ones my wife (daughter of a librarian) brought in, but even a good chunk of those. And we both reread a significant part of our collection regularly. Even the coffee table books, which kinda of offend me, because....

    Books exist to be read. Not to be seen.

    I'm very suspicious of highly organized book shelves.

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    1. Recommended reading for you -

      https://tywkiwdbi.blogspot.com/search/label/readers%27%20bookcases

      Yours may be in that group of 50 (I don't remember - it's been years since I posted them)

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    2. My wife is a librarian. I can assure you our bookshelves are highly organized.

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    3. I've never submitted pictures, but I love seeing all those bookshelves.

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  14. Is this just another crazy amurican thing?Yes I know the spelling is wrong,it's what I do when something you lot do that annoys me.I spell it America the rest of the time.

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  15. This makes me wonder about the implications for the infamous John Waters quote: "If you go home with somebody and they don't have books, don't #$%@ them." I mean, purchasing books-by-distance or books-by-color feels intellectually dishonest, but could it also be coercive? Inquiring dirty minds wish to know!

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