Words not required

I recently became aware of several companies that sell books by the foot to home decorators who incorporate books of a certain appearance in a room’s décor.

This seems wrong to me on so many levels.

First, who would want to stock their shelves with books that they have not read? Since when did the appearance of a book trump the words contained within? This seems like the ultimate in pretension and affectation, two qualities that I despise.

One of our bookshelves is in the dining room, nearly adjacent to the table, and the books contained therein, while not chosen or displayed for aesthetics, often serve as a conversation starter by interested guests who thumb through the texts before the meal.

But how much conversation can one have about a book that has never been read?
In fact, if decorators are basing their choices on appearances only, why not launch a company that produces books with elegant spines and outer covers but blank pages within? Wouldn’t this save the homeowner some money?

As an author, I cringe at the thought that my book might someday get sold in a lot by the foot.

“Oh, I see you have my book on your shelf. Did you enjoy it?”

“I don’t know. We don’t read books. We buy them by the foot. Your book just had the right look for the colors of this room.”

Yet another reason to publish in trade paperback.